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Flooding:Task Before Incoming Government

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If for nothing else, Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike clearly demonstrated an unparalleled leadership qualities when in the heat of the flood disaster last year the governor quickly responded to the needs of flood ravaged communities by approving a whooping one billion naira to ameliorate their sufferings.
It would be recalled that the flood Management Committee headed by a seasoned technocrat, Dr George Nwaeke, was in every community ravaged by  the disaster. Relief materials including cash were given to affected communities across the State.
The 2022  flood was described as a major disaster not just by Nigerians by the international community. The incident affected over 16 states in the country.
In Rivers State for instance, the entire Orashi region was sacked by the incident.
There was complete dislocation of families. Schools turned to refugee camps and even in Abua/Odual,the council hall was turned to a refugee camp.
Faming activities were grounded in places such as Ogba /Egbema/Ndoni Local Government ,Ahoada West and East Local Government Areas , and Abua/Odual.
In far away Soku and Rundele in Akuku Toru and Emohua Local Government Areas respectively, the impact of the disaster was felt.
Neighbouring states of Bayelsa, Delta, Cross River, Anambra and even parts of the North felt the impact of the disaster.
The Government of Cameroun was blamed for the disaster.
According to various opinions across the country,the disaster was caused by the opening of the Lagdo Dam by the Camerounian authorities.
The critics also blamed the government of Nigeria for refusing to build a dam along the River Niger and Benue to contain water from Lagdo dam.
It would be noted that communities affected by the disaster are still counting their loses till today.
In some of the communities visited by the reporter,they complained about the destruction of their farmlands, high rate of malarial infestations and the fact that some of them still live as refugees.
Meanwhile, some Nigerians have been speaking on the impact of the disaster and the role of government in combating future flooding in the country.
A cross section of Nigerians who spoke on the issue said government should start an intensive preparations towards checking perennial flooding in the country..
In a post disaster interview, Prince Sodin Akiagba, a native of Joinkrama Engenni lamented the destructive impact of the disaster on his community.
He said since the abatement of the incident,no government across the country is giving due attention to flood ravaged communities.
According to him, what is dominating discourse is politics, adding that non of the aspirant is even talking about enviromental issues.
Akiagba expressed fears that his people may suffer another disaster this year if nothing is done about it.
He called on government to dredge the Orashi river,while the dam to contain water from Cameroun should be constructed.
Akiagba also called for post flood support for his people.
Speaking last year in an interview,South South zonal director of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr Godwin Tepikor said the impact of flood disaster can be minimise if Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps are provided across the zone.
He said communities should take annual flood predictions seriously for  early preparations for it.
Tepikor also proposed regular desilting of gutters and drainages, noting that the culture of indescriminate dumping of refuse into drainages be discouraged.
He said NEMA will collaborate with governments across the region with the view to ameliorating the impact of flood disaster on the people.
. Also speaking, the President General of Ogbakor Egbema Aninso, Mr Ify Francis Igwebuike,          told The Tide that his people were abandoned to their fate
He lamented the impact on food security in his kingdom,the loss of lives and property by his people and the fact that there hasn’t been any post flood support for the people.
According to him, some rivers and creeks crisscrossing Egbema could be dredged to facilitate movement of waters to the River Niger.
He said rivers such as the Nkisa and other rivulets can be dredged to ensure runoff to river Niger at Ndoni.
According to Igwebuike, these proposals were made a long time ago but successive governments in Nigeria refused to implement them.
The Eze Igbu Ubie of Ubie Kingdom, Ahoada West Local Government Area, HRM Eze Maxwell Augustine Okpokiri, called for a permanent solution to the problem of flooding in the country.
He said his kingdom has always suffered impact of every flood disaster in the country.
Also speaking, a Port Harcourt based enviromental activist, Prince William Chinwo, said both state and federal governments should do something urgently to check future flood disasters in the country.
According to him, measure should also be taken to support communities ravaged by the incident.
Other activists also said measures be taken to check future occurrence of flooding in the country.
It  would be noted that by May 2023 a new democratic government will be installed across the country.
The outgoing administrations may have done their best which to some Nigerians their best as far as flooding was concerned is not good enough for the country.
The onus lies on the incoming administrations both at the local government, state and federal governments to think of something new in the area of flood control and mitigation.

By: John Bibor

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Environment

Group Advocates End To Plastic Wastes

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Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), an ecology-focused Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has called for a drastic reduction in the use of plastics to save planet earth from suffocation.
This was contained in a press release made available to The Tide in Port Harcourt.in reactions to the just concluded World Earth Day celebration.
According to the release signed by Komev Odhomo HOMEF media /communications lead, HOMEF noted that celebrating Earth Day is an annual event designed to shed light on serious environmental problems faced from the climate crisis to air pollution and deforestation.
“World Earth Day reminds us as humans that the Earth is ours to protect and preserve but over time humans have abandoned their roles in protecting the planet because of selfishness and drive for profit.
The International Mother Earth Day’s theme this year ‘Planet vs Plastic’ urges us to build a liveable future for humans, other beings, and natural systems.
We stand united in our fight against non-biodegradable waste pollution.
“Our addiction to single-use plastics suffocates the planet. Plastics can take hundreds of years to decompose, clog our water bodies, and cause harmful impacts as a result of their chemical composition.
“Sadly, the world is literally a plastic civilisation due to a vested interest in hydrocarbons and ease of application, HOMEF said.
It qouted the Executive Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation,  Dr Nnimmo Bassey, as advocating for urgent action to ban the production and usage of single-use plastics.
He further urged action by everyone to be involved in efforts to kick out plastics.
Now is a critical time to choose between planet and plastic. Good sense tells us to choose the planet, our Mother Earth that sustains all lives.
Poor sense driven by profit urges humans to choose plastics because of the ease they bring, despite the harmful impacts on our health, climate, and overall health of the planet.
As we mark World Earth Day 2024, the alarm must be sounded that it is time to uproot plastics from their fossil base or be ready to be turned into plastic humans living plastic lives and heading to an infernal plastic future.  At HOMEF, we are all for the planet, people, and all life forms,” Bassey said.
HOMEF  noted that research has shown that 380 million tonnes of plastic are now produced every year, while only nine percent of plastic ever produced has been recycled. Campaigns around the world calling for a 60 percent reduction in plastic by 2040 are commendable and worthy of support.

At Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), we believe in the intrinsic Rights of Mother Earth and the rights of humans and other beings to be respected and to live in dignity.

It is time to build up courage and to preserve and protect our health, and our livelihoods by embracing alternatives that are sustainable, healthy, and safe for the planet. We must stop all forms of destructive extractive activities in Nigeria, Africa, and the World.

The Planet vs Plastics campaign is a call to arms, a demand that we act now to end the scourge of plastics and safeguard the health of every living being on our planet,” We are submerged in a sea of plastic wastes, from our creeks to the ocean. It’s time we did better!”

 

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Environment

WED:Activists Task Govt On Plastic Pollution, Synophom Ban

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Civil societies and environmental rights activists have tasked governments across the country to find solutions to the issue of plastic pollution.
They also called on  Rivers state and other state governments in the country to ban syrophom as was done in Lagos.
The activists said this while reacting to the theme of the just concluded World Earth Day celebration which held across the world last Monday 22 April,2024.
The theme for this year’s celebration  was”Planet vs Plastic”. According to information on the website of the United Nations Environment Programm( UNEP),  380 million tonnes of plastic are now produced every year,while only 9 percent of plastic ever produced has been recycled.
It was also found that over 5.25 trillion macro and micro process of plastic are lying on the ocean bed
It noted that “The Planet v Plastics campaign is a call to arms, a demand that we act now to end the scourge of plastic pollution
Environmental Right Activists said time has come for the government to either ensure an outright ban on plastic productions or seek for ways of recycling them.
It would be noted that the effects of plastic pollution is being felt by communities across the country
Recently, the Amadi-Ama Community in the Port Harcourt City Local Government Area of Rivers State raised alarm over the scourge of plastic pollution in its waterways.
According to the community, plastic pollution in its water ways has not only affected aquactic lives but has hampered communication including movement of vessels within its water ways.
Amadi -Ama Community is not alone in this, other communities have also raised concern.
In Port Harcourt and Obio-Akpor local government areas, dumping of plastic into drainages were largely blamed for the flooding withnessed annually in the city.
According to respondents ,plastics dumped into drainages by unscrupulous elements always block the free flow of water to the river, thereby causing flooding.
Meanwhile, some Environmental Right Activists have been speaking on the celebration.
According to some of them, solution to plastic pollution must be sought urgently by the Authorities
They urged governments at all levels to embark on a programmes of plastic recycling while also sensitising the public on the dangers associated with indiscriminate dumping of plastics into the environment including water ways.
She also decried the indiscriminate dumping of plastics by residents of Port Harcourt City and Obio Akpor, adding that it contributes to flooding being experienced in the city.
Meju said  the best way to dispose off plastics must be sought out.
Olatunji Olawapo of Sustainability and Climate Literacy particularly urged the Rivers State Government to ban syrophom,a plastic used by food vendors to wrap food for their customers.
He said syrophom does not decay adding it constitute a big environmental nuisance

Olawapo argued that  if Lagos State can banned it, there is no reason why Rivers state cannot do same.

Olawapo also urged for more sensitisation on the effects of plastic pollution the on the environment he said his organisation based in Eagle Island Port Harcourt has been doing a lot in the area of environmental sustainability.

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Environment

South East Businessmen Charge Governors On Rail, Security, Others

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Business community in Se South East has asked governors in the zone to eschew individualism and forge cooperation for the development of the region.
They identified development of the rail system, security, power and roads as areas the states should cooperate, citing what was going on in the South West states.
Some businessmen, who spoke, said only regional cooperation could enable the people of the area to fully benefit from the present enhanced attention some of the states were placing on repositioning and upgrading of infrastructures.
They also said governments and the organised private sector groups in the five states needed to work in synergy.
This comes on the heels of huge investments organisations, like Geometric Power, have thrown into the system in Aba, Abia State, to ensure uninterrupted electricity power supply, the rehabilitation of the Enugu/Port Harcourt expressway, eastern rail lines currently being restored, as well as promises from the Federal Government, to reignite the industrialisation of the zone.
Immediate past president of Aba Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ACCIMA), Jerry Kalu, said there was need to link the major cities in the zone with a rail line, good roads and other infrastructures that will bring them together industrially and provide avenues of assisting one another, in development.
In achieving this, Kalu said private sector organs should always be taken in by governments of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states, in planning their annual, medium and long-term development programmes and budgeting, to accommodate all sectors of the society.
He commended Governor Alex Otti’s administration in Abia, for being the first to ever invite ACCIMA to participate and present the needs and aspirations of the organised private sector for input into the 2024 budget, during the preparations last year.
Former president of Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ONICIMA), Kevin Obieri, said individualism was the bane of development in the region.
Obieri said such attitude affects everything happening in the South East, noting that even the altruistic ones among the people talk about their community, town or friends instead of collective development of the region.
According to him, the individualistic approach to life also made the South East Governors’ Forum a very weak institution not strong enough to help articulate and pursue an integrated approach to development in the zone in the areas of power, railway and security, industrial concerns and transportation.
“Any railway or road that does not take into consideration its outlet to the sea and the need for our people to evacuate their imports easily into the hinterlands, will always have problems. To get the private sector to support it will be difficult too because the private sector is also looking for its own benefits, what affects it directly.
“It is a very complex situation that needs good leadership, a leadership that plays beyond party and personal levels. A leadership that can look at things in the overall benefit of the region,” he said.
In addition, Obieri called for the decentralisation of the security architecture in Nigeria.
“Let there be clear cut constitutional changes in theory and practice and our people can do more in this regard. People come from Imo State and do kidnapping in Anambra and go back. Without proper cooperation between the South East governors, there will always be problems. Today, you hardly hear Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma and Anambra State Governor, Charles Soludo talking because they belong to different parties. Otti is on his own too and this situation is not the best for us,” he said.

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