Ogoni Clean-Up: Minister Hands Over Seven Completed Sites In Ogoniland
The Minister of Environment, Dr Mahmood Abuakar, has handed over seven completed remediated oil spill polluted sites in Ogoniland in Rivers State to the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) for scientific certification.
The sites are among the first 21 sites awarded to contractors by the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) for clean-up in Ogoniland.
The seven sites are Lots 2,5,6 and 8 in Eleme Local Govenrment Area; Lot 10 in Gokana Local Government Area; and Lots 17 and 18 in Tai Local Government Area.
The minister, while handing over the completed sites during a colourful ceremony, yesterday, in Nkeleoken-Alode community in Eleme Local Government Area, expressed delight that the contractors that handled the sites were able to complete them for onward handover to NOSDRA for certification, and thanked the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for his support to the project.
He said after certification by NOSDRA, the sites would thereafter be handed over to President Muhammadu Buhari, who initiated the clean-up project in the first place.
Abubakar further thanked the people of the various communities in Ogoniland, particularly the youths for their cooperation and support to the clean-up project, stressing that the completion of the seven sites is a pointer to the fact that Buhari was determined to change the negative narratives of the people of the Niger Delta who have suffered over four decades of environmental pollution.
“It is a day of promise kept and kept to the letter in terms of standard and depth of work done”, he said, adding that, “a total of 208, 300 cubic metres of soil was treated from the seven lots using bio-remediation option, a method that is environmentally friendly and effective in removing pollutants from the soil.”
He said so far, progress has been made in the clean-up project but hinted that the Federal Ministry of Environment still yearns for more progress, as it does not want the clean-up to be done haphazardly.
“It is a project we want to ensure that it is done very well,” the minister said.
Abubakar further indicated that the clean-up project has created over 2,,000 direct jobs for Ogoni youths, stressing that the contractors would have completed their work earlier but for some factors that slowed down the pace of work.
“As a project, we would need your support and cooperation to achieve set goals, which goals are for the benefit of the Ogoni people,” he said, and appealed to host communities to the remediation sites to allow contractors to do their work without undue interference.
He said HYPREP is already training 1,200 Ogoni women in alternative livelihood skills in agro-allied ventures being handled by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNTIAR), adding that the first batch of 400 women drawn from the four Ogoni LGAs is ongoing.
He assured Ogoni people that “We will sustain progress on the clean-up of impacted sites and all other recommendations contained in the UNEP Report”.
On his part, the Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Dr Marvin Dekil, thanked the minister and the Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, and the community leaderships as well as staff of HYPREP for their support.
He said the minister’s commitment and input gave a new impetus to the clean-up project, “thus, making us come thus far on the project”, stressing that he (the minister) has left indelible marks on the project that can be copied for similar projects elsewhere.
He hinted that the bio-cell technology adopted for the clean-up of less impacted sites is a success that could be adopted for remediation elsewhere.
“In awarding the contracts for remediation, we factored in the training of community workers in basic remediation skills as a way of developing local manpower so that the skills acquired can be used elsewhere at the end of their contracts,” he said, adding that technical assistants for the project which constitute over 90 percent of the workforce are Ogoni young scientists were trained in Switzerland.
The minister and his entourage, before handing over the completed sites paid a courtesy visit to the King of Eleme Kingdom, Emere Philip Osaro Obele, who assured that Eleme people would give 110 per cent support to the clean-up project.
Among those on the minister’s entourage included the Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor; Director General of NOSDRA, Alhaji Idris O. Musa; the Cross River State Commissioner for Environment, Hon Mfon Bassey; and a host of other personalities.
Ikeazor, in a speech, urged HYPREP to engage more community people, and expressed joy that a reference laboratory to facilitate NOSDRA’s work is located in Port Harcourt, which she commissioned in January this year.
ISERAEL - NIGERIA i-FAIR 2020/21
“Transforming ideas into Inventions”
The Embassy of the State of Israel in Nigeria, in collaboration with the Government of Nigeria & partnership with Skill-G Nigeria Ltd, Gregory University Uturu (Abia State), and DeNovo-isreal Ltd are honored to introduce the i-FAIR
The i-FAIR has been created to raise a generation of innovators, inventors and researchers in Nigeria by offering them a platform to transform their brilliant ideas into innovative solutions and launch their entrepreneurial dreams in the following fields:
* Agriculture & Food security
* Renewable Energy/ Environment Management
* Food technology
* Medical Devices/Simulation
* Social Responsibility
Successful applicants are entitled to the following benefits, free of charge:
* A unique platform to transform ideas into inventions and develop working prototypes
* Free access and membership to a modern innovation center where they can work on and develop their ideas
* Access to a special certificate- course and mentoring by accomplished inventors, innovators and researchers from Nigeria and the State of Israel
* The opportunity to enter “Masschallenge Israel, 2021”
* The opportunity to pitch inventions and prototypes to investors for possible adoption, patronage and partnership
* An all-expense paid visit to the State of Israel, for inventors with the best prototypes and a chance for a Proof of Concept (POC) collaboration opportunity with leading Israeli companies (TBD)
Who Can Apply
Nigerian citizens over the age 21, with a minimum educational qualification of a bachelor’s degree from any field (preferably in the fields highlighted above) are encouraged to apply.
Duration and Deadlines
Applications are open and will be closed on October 31st, 2020. Afterwards, a team of experts will review the applications and select the best 50-100 ideas. The successful applicants will attend a three-day course from December 1st-3rd, 2020 at the Innovation Center in Abuja.
A team of experts from Israel and Nigeria will mentor/provide the successful applicants the tools necessary to develop their ideas into marketable products and prototypes. The grand finale where participants will make presentations of their prototypes to investors will be held between March 2nd-4th, 2021 at the Innovation Center in Abuja.
For additional information about the i-FAIR please visit: www.ifair-israelnigeria.comand for submission of an application please visit: https://www.ifair-israelnigeria.com/form-app/form.php
Experts Seek Mitigation Measures to Curb Climate Change Impacts
Environmentalists have called on the Federal Government to adopt fresh measures for the mitigation of climate change impacts in the post COVID-19 era.
They said Nigeria is plagued with diverse ecological problems that have been linked to climate change, hence, the need for action. According to them, the effect of climate change is making the environment warmer, dryer and conducive for pests and disease in the country.
The experts spoke at the 2020 International Virtual Conference of the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Pollution Mitigation SETPOM, themed: “Interconnectedness: Implications for Covid-19 and Environmental Concerns.”
Setting the tone for discussion, SETPOM President, Dr. Nnamdi Amaeze, who said the environment is rich in opportunities that can lead to employment of youths, called for its conservation and protection for generations unborn.
He said the conference is an opportunity for academics, industrialists, regulators, researchers and students to interact on environmental issues of local and global concerns.
Director and Chief Executive, Centre for Atmospheric Research, National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Prof. Babatunde Rabiu, said climate change has altered the natural hydrological calendar to the extent that life cycle of most insects and pests are no longer controlled or disrupted with the onset of rainfall.
In his keynote address, Prof. Rabiu said the inconsistency in rainfall pattern has strengthened the lifespan of those biological pests and resulted in the destruction of forest and agricultural crops.
“Rainfall is becoming unpredictable and decreasing on the average, which also differ significantly from 1971-2005,” he said.
Coastal region, Rabiu said, has experienced slightly increasing rainfall since the early 1970s and August break (short-dry-season) is currently being experienced more in July as against August in the Savannah ecology. He added, “the Southern ecological zone of Nigeria largely known for high rainfall is currently confronted by irregularity in the rainfall pattern.”
He further revealed that the Northern zone faces the threat of desert encroachment at a very fast rate per year, while coastal areas are becoming vulnerable to incessant floods, destruction of mangrove ecosystems and transmission of water borne diseases that lead to displacement and communal crisis.
Speaking on indoor air pollution, the Manager, Community Relations, Addax Petroleum, Julius Brown, said prior COVID-19, about 4.3 million people died yearly from exposure to indoor air pollutants, while COVID era is expected to increase the number.
His words: “Out of the number of exposure to household air pollutants, 34 per cent perish from stroke, 26 per cent died of heart disease, 22 per cent from, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, while pneumonia and lung cancer account for 12per cent and six per cent of the deaths respectively.
He stressed that women and young children, who spend most time at home, are more vulnerable as more than 50 per cent of pneumonia deaths among children under five years are linked to household air pollution.
To mitigate indoor air pollution, Brown called for avoidance of smoking indoors, keeping burning of fossil fuel outdoors and use of a dehumidifier and/or air conditioner to reduce moistures.
Press Briefing by Honourable Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar On National Issues and Concern Relating to Environment Sector
Distinguished Gentlemen of the Press, I welcome you to this important Press Briefing. It is organized to brief you and the nation that the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) has graciously approved the establishment of ten (10) additional National Parks bringing the total number of the National Parks in the Country to Seventeen (17). I will also brief you on the efforts of the Ministry in the Control of the second wave of the Covid-19.
2. The details of the new National Parks are as follows:
1. Allawa Game Reserve
Allawa National Park
2. Apoi Forest Reserve
Apoi National Park
3. Edumenum Forest Reserve
Edumenum National Park
4. Falgore Game Reserve
Falgore National Park
5. Hadeja Wetland Game Reserve
Hadeja Wetland National Park
6. Kampe Forest Reserve
Kampe National Park
7. Kogo Forest Reserve
Kogo National Park
8. Marhai Forest Reserve
Marhai National Park
9. Oba Hill Forest Reserve
Oba Hills National Park
10. Pandam Forest Reserve
Pandam National Park
3. To give credence and legal backing to this worthy cause, an Executive Bill will soon be presented to the National Assembly for further necessary action.
4. It should be noted that, the first National Park in Nigeria, Kanji Lake was created in 1979. This was followed by six (6) others spread across the country namely:
i. Kamuku National Park-Kaduna State
ii. Kainji Lake National Park-Niger and Kwara States
iii. Gashaka-Gumti National Park -Adamawa & Taraba States
iv. Chad Basin National Park-Borno and Yobe States
v. Okomu National Park-Edo State
vi. Cross River National Park-Cross River State
vii. Old Oyo National Park-Oyo State
5. The creation of additional National Parks in Nigeria has become imperative in view of the prevailing effects of climate change across the globe. This action is geared towards the United Nation’s policy of placing 25% of its member countries’ landmass under permanent vegetation cover for carbon sequestration to mitigate the effects of climate change and ameliorate other ecological challenges. It may interest you to note that Nigeria currently has 6.7% of her total landmass under vegetation cover which is grossly inadequate in line with global best practices. The creation of these Parks will no doubt, further create more employment opportunities, alleviate poverty in rural areas and ultimately enhance the country’s revenue profile especially now that Nigeria is seeking to diversify her economy.
6. The seventeen (17) National Parks cut across the ecological zones of the country except the marine eco-system. National Parks are areas reserved and managed for conservation of wildlife and natural resources. The Parks contain several rich and diverse varieties of rare endangered species like Elephants, Gorillas, Giraffes, Monkeys, Golden Cats, Hippopotami, crocodiles etc and a host of plant species.
7. The functions of the National Park Service involve surveillance, patrolling, checking illegal activities of poachers in the Parks, enforcement of relevant international treaties and conventions to which Nigeria is a signatory, public enlightenment on the protection and conservation of plants and animals, assisting researchers and searching, arresting and prosecuting offenders.
8. Some of the benefits of the National Parks include the protection of life support systems such as watersheds and water catchment areas. National Parks have great potentials for the development of research, particularly on agriculture, medicine and bio-technology. They also serve as field laboratories for Nigerian Universities and other tertiary institutions. The National Parks are Nigeria’s eco-treasure and have the potentials of contributing substantially to the National economy when fully developed as obtains in East and Southern Africa.
9. Gentlemen of the Press, as you are very much aware National Security is crucial to Protected Areas. It is also regrettable that most State Owned Forest Reserves today have become dens of criminal activities. Therefore, in a bid to further add impetus to the current fight against insurgency as well as other organized crimes such as kidnapping, cattle rustling, banditry amongst others, the creation of these National Parks will provide the much needed apparatus to ward off criminal elements living or looking for hide outs in those Areas.
10. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is important at this juncture to note that in order to ensure maximum security and benefits of these National Parks enunciated above, Mr. President has also directed that the Federal Ministry of Environment, Agriculture & Natural Resources as well as that of Interior should work together to ensure the attainment of the targets.
11. At this junction, it is necessary that we remind ourselves that Nigeria is witnessing a resurgence of COVID-19 Infection going by the records of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control. This resurgence, the second wave as it is known, is hitting Countries and Territories with varying degrees of impact. The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, has been advocating to Nigerians to observe safety provisions in the Protocol for Corona Virus Disease control in the Country.
12. In the wake of the resurgence, the Federal Ministry of Environment has already begun Terminal Environmental Decontamination/Disinfection of Premises where COVID-19 cases have been recorded stemming out of requests from such quarters. We, as a Ministry are determined to continue to support the Federal Government’s coordinated response to the Pandemic. As previously done, the Ministry is poised to once again render qualitative services.
13. You will recall that the Ministry, being one of the Line COVID-19 Response Ministries, proactively mobilized the general public at the inception of the infections earlier this year, towards understanding the nature, mode of spread and control measures. In the whole, maintenance of sterility of Premises, Containments, Dwellings, Offices is the main objective of the Ministry’s Decontamination/Disinfection intervention in order for their users to be safeguarded from letting in the Virus and other microbes into their systems.
14. It is once more necessary to re-echo the need for Nigerian Citizens to adhere strictly to provisions of the COVID-19 control protocol as the main barriers of the virus spread. To this end, Hand hygiene, Respiratory hygiene, Avoidance of crowd, Physical distancing as well as terminal and concurrent decontamination/disinfection must continue to be adopted by all and sundry.
15. It is my firm conviction that decontamination/disinfection as acclaimed by international standards, is contributing immensely to the containment of the spread of Corona virus in Nigeria. I would like to appeal to Nigerians to embrace the safe utilization of Decontamination formulations and administration by engaging only licensed Environmental Health Practitioners for Decontamination/Disinfection Services as an efficient non pharmaceutical Corona control measure.
16. Against this backdrop, the Federal Ministry of Environment is thanking Mr. President for this giant stride which is targeted towards achieving wildlife conservation that is in tandem with United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and addressing internal security. We also appreciate the efforts of government in the fight against the spread of Covid-19 in the Country. It is our prayer and hope that this second wave of the Pandemic will be promptly controlled effectively.
We are grateful to the Media for your continuous support and cooperation.
Thank you and God Bless.
2020 WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY HELD ON THURSDAY, JUNE 4, 2020
The Honorable Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar
BRIEF HANDING OVER CEREMONY OF NEW PERMANENT SECRETARY IN THE FEDERAL MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT
Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Environment Mr Abel Olumuyiwa Enitan, Minister of State for Environment, Chief Mrs Sharon Ikeazor and Director of Planning, Research and Statistics of the Ministry Dr Bolatito Obisesan