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To curtail the grave threat posed by climate change, the Federal Ministry of Environment has committed to involving key stakeholders and the general public in the revision of the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), design, and implementation of climate change policy.

Minister of State for the Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, who made this known during a webinar on “Public Participation in Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Drafting and Implementation: Experiences around the World,” said Nigeria places emphasis on the NDC as a vehicle for communicating climate change action.

The event was organised by the Centre for Climate Change and Development (CCCD) of the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo (AE-FUNAI), Ebonyi State in collaboration with the World Resources Institute (WRI).

Under the current national climate change plans, known as NDC, Nigeria set an ambitious target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions unconditionally by 20per cent and conditionally by 45 per cent compared to the 2010 baseline.

Ikeazor said public participation was a necessary requirement for accommodating diverse views in the climate change decision-making process and, that stakeholders including the youth, women groups, academia, private sector, conservationists as well as commissioners of the environment in different geopolitical zones should encourage actions not only at the federal level but also at the subnational level.

She stated that the government had consistently shown leadership in climate action. “Federal Government has backed up this commitment with concrete actions, Nigeria ratified the Paris agreement and the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, making Nigeria the 144th country that was needed for the entry into force of the amendment in December 2020.”

According to Ikeazor, the ministry is open to ideas to improve processes in the design and implementation of the NDC. “Climate change is a challenge to everyone and it is the desire of the government that more people be interested and involved in climate change action and participate in the efforts that Nigeria is making, but also to take advantage of all the opportunities it presents, especially for our youth.”

The event, moderated by Director, CCCD of AE-FUNAI, Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, had an independent consultant, Huzi Msheilla, who served as the facilitator of Nigeria’s NDC review and implementation processes, shedding some light on the level of engagement and incorporation of other stakeholders in accelerating climate action in Nigeria.

Other speakers included Prof. Donald Brown, the Winner of the 2019 UNESCO Avicenne Prize for Climate Change Ethics; Dr. Thomas Hale of Oxford University; Rachael Rico, Policy Advisor, Italian Climate Network; Dr. Malle Fofana of the Global Green Growth at the Republic of Korea; Ms Yamide Dragnet, Director, Climate Negotiations, World Resources Institute; and Jessica Cookie, the Policy Officer at PLAN International.

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According to the Minister, Nigeria must not continue to be a dumping ground for used electronics and other electrical appliances that does not only constitute a serious challenge to the environment, but also to healthy living of Nigerians.

She disclosed that Nigeria is in receipt of large volumes of Used Electrical Equipment (UEEE) that are under the guise of ‘bridging the digital divide’ with a large chunk discovered to be e-waste. She described E-waste as non-functional electrical/electronic equipment that have become hazardous to the environment and healthy lifestyles.

“This unsound waste is a fall-outs from the rapid transformation in the Information Communication and Technology (ICT) sector.

In 2018 alone, about 50 million tons of e-waste were generated globally, with only 35% officially reported as collected and recycled,” she said. Sharon Ikeazor, reiterated Federal Government’s readiness to give maximum support to e-waste management and its sustainability, saying Nigeria has already demonstrated its commitment to global efforts through the establishment of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) and promulgation of necessary regulations, among others.

She pointed out that the concern about e-waste stems from the fact that they contain several toxic and Chloreflourocarbons (CFCs), or Hydrochlorocarbons (HCFCs), which if not properly managed could harm the environment and human health. Ikeazor, while reaffirming the Ministry’s role as the focal point for e-waste management in the country, outlined Nigeria’s achievements in the sound management of e-waste, through the implementation of the EPR programme.

This according to her, has attracted international support under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded project on ‘Circular Economy Approaches for the Electronic Sector in Nigeria Project’.

“This project supports the collection and treatment of 300 tons of e-waste under the implementation framework of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), with NESREA as the executing Agency for the project,” said the Minister.

The International E-Waste Day (IEWD) movement started in 2018 and is celebrated annually on the 14th of October. IEWD stimulates awareness on effect of e-waste to arouses political will, attention and public action. Ikeazor, who described the theme for this year’s IEWD, “Education, which is devoted to the young people”, as apt, said ‘‘it is envisaged that young people will be educated on e-waste issues and in turn mentor a new generation of environmentally-responsible consumers.”

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The federal government has handed over some of the oil spill impacted sites in Ogoniland to the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) for scientific analysis and certification.

Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, said this recently at the handing over ceremony of the sites to NOSDRA in Alode community, Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State.

He said the sites were part of the 21 sites awarded to contractors in January 2019 for the batch one, phase one clean-up exercise.

Abubakar said the sites were remediated by the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), under the Federal Ministry of Environment, mandated to carry out the clean-up of Ogoni communities.

“We are happy that 582 community youths earned a living for the period that the contract lasted.

“Also, we are excited that additional 800 youths will be engaged in the second batch of the remediation exercise,” he said.

The minister said 36 contracts have been awarded to contractors and the contractors are now mobilising to the remediation sites.

He explained contractors should have completed their work on the sites but communal clashes, rains and outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in the country held up work.

“So, today is a pointer to the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari is determined to change the negative narratives of the people of the Niger Delta.

“President Buhari wants 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 added.

Abubakar said the remediation sites handed over to NOSDRA, includes lots two, five, six and eight in Eleme LGA.

Others are lots 10 in Gokana and lots 17 and 18 in Tai Local Government Areas of the state.

“To this end, a total of 280,300 cubic meters of soil was treated from the seven lots using bio-remediation option.

“The bio-remediation option is a method that is environmentally friendly and effective in removing pollutants from the soil.

“The project has not only added value to the environment, youths from the oil impacted communities have been meaningfully engaged as well as earning salaries,” he said.

Also speaking, HYPREP Coordinator, Dr Marvin Dekil, said the agency had introduced to the less complex sites newer technologies in the field of remediation.

According to him, the newer technology include the use of bio-cell technology on lesser complex sites as against the use of integrated contaminated soil centre.

“The reason behind the bio-cell engineering is that the soil from the less complex sites can be treated immediately.

“It is also the reason that pollutants are not littered along the path of transportation from the point of excavation to the point of treatment,” Dekil explained.

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“We have met the compliance obligations under the protocol by achieving the 10% reduction of our Hydrochlorofuorocarbons importation from the baseline in 2015.

We are now on track to achieve further reduction of 35% consumption by the end of this year” The Minister stated that Nigeria signed the Montreal Protocol in 1988 and subsequently ratified all its related amendments and have been implementing the protocol’s Ozone Depleting Substances phase-out programme in Nigeria assisting over 600 large, small and medium scale enterprises in the Foam, Refrigeration and Air conditioning, Aerosols, Fire protection and solvent sectors to convert to Ozone friendly substances and technologies. Speaking further, Dr Abubakar re-affirm the commitment of his Ministry to cooperate and give necessary support towards the implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements that Nigeria is a party to.

“To demonstrate this, under my leadership, the upgrade of a one of two of such in Africa System House at Vitapour Nig. Ltd (a subsidiary of Vitafoam Nig. Ltd), for the formulation of Ozone-friendly systems in the manufacture of rigid polyurethane foam, was completed in 2019 and is ready for commissioning”.

He stated. He stressed that studies have shown that replacing climate potent gases creates an opportunity to increase the energy efficiency of cooling equipment by 10-50 per cent thereby significantly reducing energy cost to consumers and businesses.

Addressing the issue of climate action, the Minister enjoined Nigerians to be steadfast in their efforts to limit climate change impact even as the world grapple with the challenge of Covid-19. According to him, “as we deal with the impacts of the global pandemic, it is pertinent to be conscious of climate action as it could cause even more misery and disruption than Covid-19: we must therefore be resolute in our efforts to limit it.” He added that despite global challenge occasion by the outbreak of Covid-19 and its impact on the nation’s health and economy, the Federal Ministry of Environment remain resolute in its resolve to phase out Ozone Depleting Substances and activities, recognising the importance of the Refrigeration and Air-conditioning servicing sector in guaranteeing food security and availability of medicines through effective and efficient preservation as well as providing thermal comfort in hospitals and homes.

The Ministry of Environment undertook a study on Covid-19 implications on the Refrigeration and Servicing Sector in Nigeria, with the specific objective of identifying best practices when servicing Refrigeration and Air-conditioning equipment amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, describe the key hygiene methods to avoid infection and create trusting and safe environment for all personnel involved in the servicing as well as describe how the sector can contribute to providing a clean and virus free environment.

Delivering a goodwill message from the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, Environment Expert, Oluyomi Banjo congratulated Nigeria for achieving 10% reduction of Ozone-depleting substance describing the nation has been proactive and exemplary. In his welcome remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Abel Olumyiwa Enitan stated that the Ministry will continue to utilize the opportunity provided by the Montreal Protocol and its Amendments to promote the adoption of Ozone and Climate-friendly technologies that will ultimately contribute to the socio-economic development of our dear nation.

“I urge you all to support the Ministry in achieving these lofty goals.” He said


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Izuchukwu Onwughara, the Project Coordinator, Nigeria Environmental Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), in Abia has advised the government, groups, communities and individuals to adopt proactive measures in tackling flooding.

Onwughara in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria stressed the need for a proactive approach in flood management as “an efficient way to prevent the devastating impact of flooding”.

He said that the warnings issued by Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMeT) were based on empirical data and called for urgent action by Nigerians.

“NiMeT has given seasonal rainfall predictions for 2020. I urge people to take the warnings and precautions seriously because neglecting them would be at our own peril.

“We should transit from reactionary approach to preparedness because being able to prepare is a better response to flooding and its adverse effects.”

Onwughara advised property owners and developers to raise the foundation of buildings in flood-prone areas, desilt drains and avoid building on waterways to prevent flooding.

He also urged people to create green areas, describing the measure as another effective strategy to prevent flooding.

According to him, green areas will provide a terminal point for storm water and prevent surface runoff.

Onwughara called on relevant agencies to collaborate in the fight against flooding by ensuring that proper and approved building designs were used for town development.

He said that NEWMAP had commenced public enlightenment campaigns on the dangers of flooding and ways of preventing it, as well as collaborating with the Abia government to tackle flooding.

“We are trying to take stormy water away from low flood plain by using a tunnel to move the water to Aba River. This is the state government’s Umuagbai-Uratta project aimed at flood mitigation.

“We have also commenced a solid waste management programme aimed at helping in solid waste disposal because solid waste clogs drains,” Onwughara said.

Also, the Executive Secretary of Abia State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA),  Sunday Jackson, said the agency had begun sensitisation of the people to create awareness to the looming flood disaster in the state.

Jackson told NAN that Abia was one of the 28 states on flood red alert as predicted by the Nigeria Hydrological Agency Services and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMeT).

He said that more than 60 communities that were flood-prone in the state would likely be affected by the downpour envisaged to happen between September and October across the federation.

He listed Umunneochi, Osisioma Ngwa, Obingwa, Isiala Ngwa, Umuahia North and Umuahia South, Ukwa East and Ukwa West as the local government areas that were at high risk of flooding.

He said, “Based on the predictions, SEMA and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) had embarked on sensitisation in the seven local government areas to prepare them against the impending disaster.”

Jackson said that communities in those areas were being sensitised to be aware and observe the safety-net that would curtail impact of the disaster when it occurs.

“We are also emphasizing seriously that residents of these highly prone areas should evacuate from such places to safer areas,” he said.

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I am delighted to be part of this launch for Africa’s journey towards climate change resilience.

It is worthwhile to state here that one of the cardinal objectives of this present administration is to tackle the issue of climate change as unveiled by President Buhari in his inauguration speech in 2015. In achieving this objective, Nigeria prepared its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in the same year it pledged to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission by 20% unconditionally and a further 45% with international support (conditional).

As you may all know, our NDC was submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention Climate Change (UNFCCC) at COP 21 in Paris in 2015. This led to the adoption of the Paris Agreement which has been domesticated and ratified by the country. Consequently, we have developed Sectoral Action Plans which include Agriculture, Power, Oil & Gas, Transport and Industry.

We have also made efforts with regards to Adaptation action by developing a National Adaptation framework. We submitted a Readiness Support Proposal to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to advance our National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). This was approved. Towards, generating domestic climate finance we have issued two Green Bonds. Adaptation projects are among those the Bonds fund.

More adaptation-oriented action include the approval of our climate change and gender action plan. We plan to carry out include Vulnerability Mapping & Assessment for Nigeria. The objective of the assessment is to identify vulnerabilities and fashion out appropriate adaptation strategies for them.

Alongside the work of my ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management & Social Development has been created by Mr. President to address emergencies that arise as a result of climate change impacts. We know there is room for improvement.

Once again, I wish to remind us all to use this platform to catalyze the much needed adaption action, chart and pursue a definite course for securing regional and global financial support for those actions for Africa.

Basically we expect AfDB/GCA can help the continent by providing technological and technical strengthening to countries. Of course alongside facilitating access to “means of implementation”. We are open to partner on improving and expanding our Green Bond instruments, gender and youth inclusion in climate action.

The AfDB/GCA can do the following for the continent;

* Enable countries do ecosystem valuation which gives a fiscal contribution of Adaptation projects and enable buy-in by governments and communities;

* enabling the development and establishment of sustainable carbon markets in the region;

* Provide national and regional platforms to build capacities to bridge the technology and financial gaps, to develop impactful adaptation projects;

* match-make country projects with available funding; among other.

I appreciate this opportunity to give a remark at this occasion.

Thank you. Merci beaucoup. Obrigado.

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Following the announcement by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan of posting and redeployment of Federal Permanent Secretaries as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, the new Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Environment, Mr Abel Olumuyiwa Enitan has assumed office, tasking staff of the Ministry to maintain the ethics of Federal Civil Service with professionalism and discipline.

Enitan who was redeployed from the Federal Civil Service Commission also emphasized on the need for collective efforts towards the success of the of the environment sector in line with the aspirations of President Buhari’s administration.

Speaking at a brief handing over ceremony in Abuja, Enitan said officials of the Ministry have been doing a great job going by the general progress recorded by the Ministry and the impact its programmes and policies have imparted on addressing the issues of Climate Change, the ecosystems and other environmental challenges in the country.

“Therefore, I am not here to re-invent the wheel but rather to work with you like a family to achieve the mandates of the ministry”, he stated.

He said his posting to the Federal Ministry of Environment is a privilege, pointing out that the Ministry is one whose policies affect positively on the nation and the lives of its people in every facet of live.

While calling for the full support of staff of the Ministry, he encouraged them to uphold the ethics of the Civil Service through hard work, discipline and respect for superiors no matter the challenges they may encounter in the course of discharging their duties.

Earlier, the Director of Planning, Research and Statistics of the Ministry Dr Bolatito Obisesan called on the Directors of the Ministry to extend their experiences and cooperation to the new Permanent Secretary so that they could both make the mandates of the Ministry to be more successful.

“We have been able to raise the Mandate of this Ministry to greater heights in the last few months when I was overseeing the office of the Permanent Secretary.
“This could be attributed to the loyalty, dedication and hard work of the Directors and Staff,” she noted.

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I am honoured to be invited to the 5th Anniversary of the Laudato Si and to be in the presence of His Grace, Most Rev Dr. Adewale Martins, Fr. Joshtrom Kureethadam, Fr. Maduabuchi Leo, Prof. Rosemary Egonmwan, Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, Dame Marie Fatayi-Williams, the Network of Young Catholic Carers for the Environment in Nigeria (NYCCEN) and the Nigerian Conservation Foundation for this webinar with the topic : Integral Ecology - The role of Young People and Faith Based Organizations in the Environment Challenge.

I recall Pope Francis at the UN General Assembly in 2015 where he referred to the earth as “our common home, a beautiful mother who opened her arms to embrace everyone” and asking us to be responsible with the way we treat and care for Mother Earth .

Faith–based organisations have an unparalleled reach and mobilizing power because of the sheer number of their devotees in every corner of the Nation – even in remote areas where the fight against environmental degradation might be lost. They have enormous potential to influence National and global policy and tip the scales positively on the substantial worldwide movement we know is needed to address the planet’s environmental challenges.

Young people also are socially conscious active agents of change, responsible idealists and well versed in technology to combat the climate crises we face. Youth activism and engagement can bring about important social and environmental change that could sustain the earth.

As climate change continues to pose serious threats to inclusive and sustainable development across all levels, its adverse impact are much more manifested at the local / community level. Communities whose livelihoods are largely reliant on natural resources are the most vulnerable. We must protect them.

For us as a Government, whatever intervention in combating climate change and preserving/protecting our biodiversity starts at the community level with women and youth being engaged, and the Faith–based organisations have a huge role to play as they have the most reach in these communities than the Government. The 25million Tree planting campaign by Federal Government will involve all groups.

The Federal Ministry of Environment is working, and will continue to work with the youth in our efforts to restore, protect and conserve Mother Nature. Most of our ecological interventions are community based.

Current events like the Covid-19 have made mankind realize the importance of Mother Nature; we must protect our biodiversity, its destruction has brought about this global pandemic, hence, we should heed these warnings and amplify our voices to heal the Earth as we scale up community based adaptation in fighting climate change as well. Let us protect the earth and restore the livelihoods of our people and safeguard their health.

I will like to conclude with my favorite quote by Thomas Paine - “The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion”.

Let us all take care of each other and the Earth.

I thank the Nigerian Conservation Foundation under the leadership of Dr. Aminu Kano, for their efforts on conservation. We are in full support and will continue to be in support of the Foundation. I applaud the NYCCEN for organizing this much needed webinar to discuss their roles and I am proud of them as they take responsibility for their environment. Let us build an inter faith based group for the environment. Laudato Si is indeed a great gift to all mankind irrespective of religion and I thank His Grace for his advocacy intervention and call to action on environmental matters for people and planet.

It is an Honor to have been a part of this discuss.  Thank you all.

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As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the 2020 World Environment Day (WED), the Federal Government said it will tomorrow Friday June 5, 2020, hand over hand over 1 million seedlings to the Kaduna State Government for planting.

Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, who gave this hint during a press briefing on Thursday, warned that over one million plant and animal species risk extinction, largely due to human activities; this is a call to action to combat the accelerating species loss and degradation of nature.

The Minister stated that the one million seedlings being handed over to Kaduna State, is in fulfilment of commitment made by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the 74th UN General Assembly in New York, to plant 25million trees to mitigate the effects of Climate Change in Nigeria.

“As part of on-going efforts to meet Mr. President’s directives on planting of 25 million trees and as a symbolic gesture to commemorate the 2020 World Environment Day in the country, I will be in Kaduna tomorrow Friday, where I will hand over 1 million seedlings to the Kaduna State Government.”

“It is our ardent prayer and hope that the seedlings would be properly utilized to mitigate the effect of biodiversity, climate change and improve on our natural habitats.”

“In addition, the Federal Government had also set up a National Forestry Trust Fund under the forestry Department of the Ministry. In the same vein, the Ministry in partnership with Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) with the support of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), are working together on coalition on nature, referred to as Nature Means Business which will target the private sector and Sub-nationals to act on agreed environmental principles that will guide their business operation to reduce the impact of business on biodiversity loss.

“It is worthy to note that our development support partner, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation program (REDD+) is currently running in 6 states in Nigeria covering all the forest zones. This is a program that conserves already existing forest and enhances carbon stock” he said.

The Minister also reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to the Global Biodiversity Framework under the convention on Biological Diversity, stressing that Nigeria is leading the ECOWAS Member-States on Post 2020 Biodiversity Frame work.

Mahmood Abubakar, regretted that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the traditional activities such as tree-planting and public workshops which were undertaken to celebrate the day in the past and has necessitated new approaches in advocacy and communication.

He described as apt the theme of the 2020 World Environment Day ‘‘Time for Nature’’, is indeed very appropriate, considering the fact that Researchers and Scientist have established COVID-19 to be zoonotic.

According to him, the UNEP, 2020 is a year for urgency, ambition and action to address the crisis facing nature.

“It is also an opportunity to more fully incorporate nature-based solutions into global climate action, especially as commemorating the day has become a powerful platform to accelerate, amplify and engage people, communities and governments around the world to take action on critical environmental challenges facing the planet”.

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Abubakar made the disclosure while speaking with State House correspondents on Wednesday, June 3, 2020 in Abuja, saying that he had presented a report on the ministry’s mandate to a meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC). The virtual meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The Ogoni cleanup in the past has been a story. Finally, President Buhari came in 2016 and the contract was given out.

“We are currently cleaning 21 plus 36 sites in Ogoni land. All these are impacted areas with hydrocarbon — a very big project.

“The world is watching this project because of the nature of hydrocarbons and what they can cause to the environment and the people living there.’’ The minister said that planting of 25 million trees was also in the fore burner and that the ministry was collaborating with state governments on the project.

Abubakar said that the Federal Ministry of Environment is one of the implanting ministries of the 774,000 jobs approved by the president.

“So, those skilled and unskilled labours are coming through the ministry. About 200,000 people will be employed plus additional 2,000, who are going to be employed by the erosion department of the ministry.’’ He said that the ministry was also handling waste recycling, describing waste management as a big project.

Abubakar said that waste management entailed waste reduction, waste recycling, waste re-use and waste recovery, among others. According to him, it is no longer fashionable to produce, use and dispose waste.

The minister said that his report to FEC also covered efforts being made on erosion control in the South East and the upper North areas of the country. “We have two programmes on erosion control. One is being handled by the department in the Ministry of Environment, which is in charge of mostly conventional erosion.

“Then, we have the big one which is being sponsored by the World Bank and we call that Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project. “The project deals with gully erosion — huge erosion that will gulp houses and you know South-East is prone to this type of erosion because of the geologic nature of the area.’’

On job creation, the minister said that the Ogoni cleanup had created 765 jobs, adding that more jobs would be created through the cleanup. He said that a programme on training of 400 women in agriculture, aquaculture and poultry was also underway.

“We have the National Generator Emission Control Programme that will be coming on line. “These are jobs that will be crated immediately after COVID-19,’’ said the minister.

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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.

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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.

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The federal government has activated 60,000 Environmental Health Officers, who will act as volunteers, to mount surveillance and enforce Presidential Task Force (PTF) guidelines for schools reopening across the nation.

Last week, the federal government through the Presidential Task Force on COVlD-19, decided to reopen schools which have remained closed since February as a measure to contain the spread of the disease in the country.

The schools reopening however is to be done in strict compliance with the directives of the PTF.

Addressing newsmen in Abuja on Monday, the Minister of Environment, Mahmood Abubakar, said 60,000 of such volunteers will cover schools in all the 774 local governments in the federation.

The 60,000 environmental health emergency volunteer corps, according to the minister, will be working with other stakeholders at the sub national levels in accordance with the said guidelines for the safe reopening of schools.

Abubakar said the ministry will monitor compliance with prescribed standards through a network of monitoring and evaluation teams across the nation and there will be sanctions for disobedience to the guidelines.

According to him, ”It is the duty of Environmental Health Officers to prioritize the immediate setting up of School Environmental Health Clubs where none existed prior to COVID-19 pandemic and as well resuscitate those not properly functioning. These clubs essentially run by selected learners will help in implementing directives of the teacher driven School Hygiene Committees.

”It is also appropriate to advise school managers to introduce Hygiene and Sanitation Prefectship to ensure proper compliance and daily guidance of learners. In the same vein, Environmental Health Officers working in the states and local governments are hereby directed to key into the training of teachers, administrators, and other education personnel on safety and hygiene measures namely disinfection, safe distancing, hand hygiene, use of face masks/shields, respiratory hygiene and Waste management.

“They will also play vital role in the development of information, education and communication (IEC) materials on hygiene and sanitation for use around the premises and in classrooms. EHOs should also see to the provisions for safe and hygienic school feeding arrangements and facilities as food hygiene is paramount in the safe school operation with particular attention to safe distancing in cafeterias. Equally important is for the EHOs to ensure food handlers and vendors in schools are regularly monitored for conformity with hygienic practices and behaviour while feeding learners from farm to fork.

”Furthermore, in accordance with the guidelines, environmental health officers in the federal and state Ministries of Environment as well as those in the LGA Environmental Health Departments shall be part of the Joint Assessment Teams for Safe Reopening of Schools and Learning Facilities being part of the Authorized Assessors.

“Additionally, Environmental Health Departments at all national levels are hereby directed to work collaboratively with respective Education Ministries and Departments to succeed.”

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After an initial effort that eventually turned out to be a ‘false start’, a fresh initiative has been unfolded to support city and local governments facing barriers to financing climate-smart projects.

Ministers and directors of governments of Germany and Luxembourg together with the World Bank, European Investment Bank, and Global Covenant of Mayors launched the initiative known as the City Climate Finance Gap Fund through a webnair last week.

It paves the way for low-carbon, resilient, and livable cities in developing and emerging economies by unlocking infrastructure investment at scale.

The world’s developed countries have committed to mobilise $100 billion a year by 2020, from public and private sources, to help developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and reduce their emissions.

The latest accounting of climate finance shows there is a gap of about $70 billion. Closing that gap is critical to building the trust necessary to reach a robust deal at the international climate summit next year.

The fund will be filling a gap in available project support, and offers technical and advisory services to assist local leaders in prioritising and preparing climate-smart investments and programmes at an early stage, with the goal of accelerating preparation, enhancing quality, and ensuring they are bankable.

It comes as an initiative of the governments of Germany and Luxembourg together with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCOM), in partnership with several other key players in the climate finance arena (including C40, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, and Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance).

Expected to be implemented by the World Bank and the European Investment Bank, the fund was announced at the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 as a key initiative of the Leadership for Urban Climate Investment (LUCI), which promotes financing for ambitious urban climate action until 2025.

With a target capitalisation of at least €100 million, the fund will accelerate investments supporting cities in developing and emerging economies, as they determine goals and objectives for low-carbon and well-planned urbanization.

The fund investment is aiming to unlock at least €4 billion of final investment in climate-smart projects and urban climate innovation.

Core donors to the fund are Germany (€45 million – including €25 million from the Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, and €20 million from the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development) and Luxembourg (€10 million).

“What cities do today will forever shape our climate tomorrow,” said Mari Pangestu, World Bank Managing Director for Development Policy and Partnerships.

“Cities in developing countries urgently need resources to realize their climate ambitions. Through the Gap Fund, the World Bank is supporting low-carbon, resilient, inclusive, healthy, creative, and sustainable communities for all.”

Cities are on the frontlines of the climate emergency and currently account for around 70 per cent of global CO2 emissions. Urban centers’ share of emissions is expected to grow as 2.5 billion people migrate from rural to urban areas by 2050.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, it was estimated that more than $93 trillion in sustainable infrastructure investment was needed by 2030 to meet climate goals.

As cities strive to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19, investments in clean energy, climate-resilient water and sanitation, and urban regeneration projects will play an important role in eliminating pollution, improving local food systems, and creating green jobs.

They will also lead to cleaner, healthier, and more equitable communities – conditions that can help prevent future pandemics.

Climate investment projects are an indispensable opportunity to improve lives of the millions who live in cities around the world. However, cities frequently lack the capacity, finance, and support needed for the early stages of project preparation – especially in developing and emerging economies.

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Climate change, if not addressed, will make COVID-19 pandemic a child’s play, the Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, has warned.

He stated that COVID-19 can only kill humans, but climate change can kill humans and their environments.

Abubakar, who spoke during a tour of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Lagos, called on Nigerians to give adequate attention to mitigation of climate change effects, adding that the administration was committed to planting 25 million trees yearly to mitigate the effects of climate change.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was committed to raising Nigeria’s biodiversity ranking through increased forestation and other strategies.

He said the kick-off of the government’s Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project in Ogoni, Rivers State, and erosion control projects across the nation, showed the country’s seriousness in environmental protection.

The minister said the Federal Government has an environment master plan, which is reviewed regularly to meet climate and environment realities.

He said the ministry had concluded a national policy on plastic that would be presented to the Federal Executive Council.

NCF’s Director-General, Dr Muntari Aminu-Kano described the minister’s appointment as putting a square peg in a square hole.

“This is one of the few times we have had an environmentalist appointed as the environment minister,” Aminu-Kanu said.

He lauded the minister’s efforts in environmental protection, and pledged the support of NCF in protecting the country’s environment.

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This was contained in a Communiqué issued at the end of the stakeholder’s parley tagged “accountability and transparency in oil spill reporting ” organised by NOSDRA in collaboration with the Akwa Ibom Ministry of Environment and Petroleum Resources, held in Eket , Akwa Ibom state.

The regulatory agency said it would engage community stakeholders, by setting up of liaison offices in the oil producing communities to get real time information on oil spills.

It said the agency would train community representatives on how to report oil spills.

The Communiqué reads in part: “There should be robust confidence building among stakeholders.

“Government should bring laudable projects to the communities to help mitigate the impact of oil spills on the communities.

“Regulators should be well funded to enable them carry out independent investigations.

“Regulators should have Desk Officers in the Oil and Gas Companies.

“To ensure transparency and Accountability, oil spill reporting should be prompt, and all stakeholders should have access to adequate information on oil spills and the results of investigation published.

“The EIA Act, has provision for communities to access information and seek redress on areas their interests were not captured.

“Adequate and comprehensive consultation should be carried out by operators or their consultants during the EIA process.

Regulators should endeavour to penalize defaulters.

“Companies should embrace the standard of disaggregated reporting on oil spills at project and community levels to ensure that oil spill data is directly associated with the projects from which they occur”, it added.

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I am happy to be with you all at this important West African Regional Consultation on the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Colleagues, we are gathered here at a pivotal moment. As you are aware, the continued loss of biodiversity and degradation of ecosystems threatens global development aspirations. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in 2019 indicated that the current negative trends in biodiversity and ecosystems will undermine our progress towards 80% of SDGs targets related to water, cities, health, climate, oceans, land and hunger. We all know, if the SDGs are in jeopardy, for us in Africa it would mean that progress towards the Agenda 2063 will also be undermined. We are all aware that the World’s Ecosystems and Biodiversity are deteriorating at an alarming rate, thereby undermining humanity’s well-being and its future existence. It is sad to note that the Aichi Targets have failed to realize its objectives which were set out in the CBD Framework to slow down the loss of biodiversity.

We cannot afford to stay on this path we are currently on which is the continued and accelerated destruction of nature, this path holds cascading consequences for nature in all ecosystems and on climate, including tipping of transitioning earth from a carbon sink to a carbon emitter. This path also holds grave consequences for humankind as we have seen from the outbreak of COVID-19 which has affected the global economy. OR we can take the ambitious road and work together as a sub-region to choose a different path which is the path of Conservation, Restoration, Transformation and Sustainable use of our biodiversity (For indeed, our solutions are really in nature). If we do not act, we soon may reach tipping points that may cause irreversible destruction to nature and ultimately humankind.

If you may recall, at the 14th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Sharm el Sheikh in November 2018, decision was taken to have comprehensive and Participatory preparation of the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, the Open ended inter-sessional working group (OEWG 2020) was established to support the preparation of the post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework to be implemented between the year 2021 and 2030. Great progress has been made at the two sessions of the OEWG-2020 convened in August 2019 and February 2020 respectively and one more session of the working group will be convened after the 24th meeting of Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTSA) and the 3rd meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI).

Also, the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) met in January 2020 and elaborated the African position on the Zero draft of the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework released in January 2020. This position was to guide CBD Focal Points and negotiators from African Parties at the 2nd meeting of the OEWG-2020. Noting that not all of the African Parties participated in the meeting of the AGN and the OEWG 2, in order to enhance participation in the run up to the 3rd session of the OEWG-2020, the Government of Nigeria in collaboration with the ECOWAS secretariat and other partners decided to convene this virtual regional session to discuss the African position on the CBD Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).

I would like to say a big thank you, to the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) and Nigerian Conservation Foundation’s (NCF) team for providing support towards this consultation that we are having today, I salute them for their tireless work in safeguarding our biodiversity in the sub-region. I am so proud of the working relationship we have with them.

Our work here today is just the beginning of a greater sub-regional collaboration and cohesion on biodiversity. Merci bien, Cote D’Ivoire for your inputs into the consultation framework. I also commend the Senegalese government for their efforts in mangrove restoration as we hope to replicate same in Nigeria

Finally colleagues, we have an exciting and pivotal two days ahead of us, this is a great opportunity for us to make a difference. Amidst all the critical issues that we are discussing, we must never forget the bounty that mother nature has so freely given to us. So, it is our moral and ethical duty to protect nature. We must connect to nature as our ancestors did and pass on this connection to our children and generations to come. I call on ECOWAS family to come together and take a swift and unified position.

I wish you well in your deliberations, and I encourage you to be bold and decisive in your decisions but never losing sight of our goal. I am committed to standing with you throughout your discussions.

On this note I wish to congratulate my sister, Ms Elizabeth Maruma Mrema on her confirmation as the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Thank you, and I wish you all success towards our common endeavor of safeguarding all life on Earth.

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As the world grapples with the spread of the novel Covid-19 pandemic with its effects on the environment and livelihood, Nigeria has restated its commitment and support to the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties (COP) with the UK and its Italian partners’ decision to postpone COP26 UN Climate Change Conference until November, 2021.

The annual UN COP Meeting on Climate Change was originally slated to take place in Glasgow, United Kingdom by November 2020, with the pre-COP events to be held by co-host Italy in September and October but was postponed due to Covid-19 crisis.

The Nigeria’s Minister of State for the Environment, Sharon Ikeazor disclosed the Federal Government’s support in a tweet following the announcement of a new date slated for 1- 12 November 2021 by the COP Bureau after its meeting on 28 May, 2020.

Ikeazor tweeted that the new date for COP26 will give Nigeria enough time to prepare and deliver on negotiations mandates while maintaining momentum on Climate Action.

Similarly, the Regional Ambassador for Sub-Saharan Africa on COP26, Paul Arkwright in his tweet described the new dates as good news, ‘‘looking forward to working with Africa to maintain momentum on climate change, ensuring focus on finance, energy transition and adaptation as partners for African host of COP27.

The primary considerations for the new date that was brought about by the COVID-19 crisis, were to safeguard the health and safety of COP26 participants, to ensure inclusiveness and maximise the potential to build climate ambition.  The COP Bureau’s decision to postpone the global annual event was disclosed in a letter jointly sign by COP26 Envoy, John Murton and COP26 Lead Negotiator Archie Young.

‘‘Our priorities when considering the new date were: the health of participants, the representation of Parties and Non-Party stakeholders, allowing time for preparation of work to deliver on negotiations mandates and the ambitious and inclusive event we are committed to, and operational considerations. Everyone we consulted agreed with these priorities’’.

The new date, according to COP Bureau’s letter, would present the lowest risk of further postponement, and the best chance of delivering an inclusive and ambitious COP26, having consulted widely with stakeholders and particularly with the African Group given implications for the timing of COP27.

Ikeazor further stressed that, Nigeria will keep the momentum of mitigating climate change in gear while maintaining the World Health Organisation Safety Protocols on Covid-19 pandemic and work on enhancing our National Determined Contributions and raising the ambition for climate action aim at rebuilding post Covid-19 recovery for a greener, resilient and sustainable environment in line with the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.

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Ahead of reopening of Nigeria’s airspace to domestic flight operations, the federal government has revealed that plans are underway to disinfect airports and airplanes across the six geopolitical zones in the country as one its safety measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 had on Monday announced that airlines could resume flight operations from June 21st.

Addressing journalists on the commemoration of the 2020 World Environment Day in Abuja, the Minister of Environment, Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar, said appropriate chemicals to be applied to aircraft and certain areas of the airports have been chosen by owners of aircraft to avoid safety bridges.

He noted that other areas to be disinfected included schools, motor parks, train stations and markets, among others.

Abubakar said that the ministry also awaits the required response from relevant authority to accelerate the disinfection and decontamination of schools in the country.

He said that Covid-19 will remain for a while, but there will be lots of advocacy and enlightenment to promote personal hygiene in schools.

He advised private school owners to ensure that their schools are disinfected by companies that are registered by the Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria.

Speaking further, the minister said Nigeria as a country must restore, conserve and protect biodiversity as the key antidote to Covid-19 recovery.

According to him, ”As individuals, communities and stakeholders, we must put an end to practices that compromise our ability to connect with nature. Activities like gas flaring, depletion of the mangroves for firewood, fishing with dynamite and other unwholesome practices inimical to present and future generation should stop.”

On his part, the representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Edwin Edeh, said the pandemic is a reminder that countries need to manage outbreaks in multi sectoral scales linking environment, agriculture and other sectors to control and prevent further emerging diseases.

He called on governments at all levels to be committed to invest in water and sanitation as well and appealed to the citizens not to destroy nature.

Similarly, Oxfam, an environment group, also called on citizens to use this year’s environment day commemoration as an avenue to urge government to deliver on its commitments to safeguard nature, end pollution and ensure that environmental laws are upheld.

It said it is worthy of note that losses in biodiversity and habitat can increase the spread of infectious diseases and viruses through indiscriminate felling of trees which encourages endangered species of these habitats to migrate to places of safety carrying along with them diseases as they move.

“Stringent measures should be taken to avoid indiscriminate felling of trees, safeguard aquatic life, save our forests thus maintaining biodiversity,” the group added.

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The Honourable Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar in the company of Dr. Baba Yakubu Ag. Registrar, Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON) and other Senior Officials of EHORECON yesterday visited the Sir. Kashim Ibrahim House in order to support the efforts of the Government of Kaduna State in it's fight against COVID-19 by donating essential items which include Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), hand sanitizers, chemicals for decontamination and disinfection, and face masks.

The Governor of Kaduna State, His Excellency, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the deputy Governor, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe and other senior government officials warmly received the Minister and his entourage.

The Minister thanked the Governor for the warm reception and also commended the state government's effort in trying to contain the spread of the virus. "We feel that you have done and are still doing what you can to not only contain it here in Kaduna state but the nation in general because by containing it here and reducing the number of infected persons who will eventually travel to other states spreading the virus, you're not just doing it for Kaduna but for the whole of Nigeria and we thank you very much once again for your effort," said the Minister.

Thereafter, the Minister proceeded to Zango, a suburb of Tudun Wada, Kaduna to flag off the decontamination/disinfection exercise of areas most prone to COVID-19 in the state. The Minister explained that the choice of Zango as the place of flag off for the exercise was informed by it's importance and economic contribution to the state.

Dr. Abubakar reiterated the determination of the Federal Ministry of Environment to decontaminate/disinfect all the areas that are at a high risk for COVID-19

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The Hon. Minister of Environment Dr. Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar represented by the Director (HRM) Daniang Peter today received 700 face mask donated by the Global Legislators Organization for Balanced Environment at the Ministry HQ Mabushi. Also at the event to receive the mask was the Director (PRS) Dr. Bolatito Obisesan

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Honourable Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar and His Excellency, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai

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