CSO appoints new board member for sustainable development

Prof. Ibrahim Choji, CSDevNet Chairman of board of trustee and new board member, Prof. Ibitoru Hart

Prof. Ibrahim Choji, CSDevNet Chairman of board of trustee and new board member, Prof. Ibitoru Hart

 

The Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet), a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) has appointed Prof. Ibitoru Hart as one of its board members to promote sustainable development across the country.

The Chair Board of Trustees of the organisation, Prof. Ibrahim Choji stated this at the Annual General Meeting of the Network in Abuja on Tuesday.

He expressed optimism that Hart’s rich experience in research and sustainable development issues would help propel the network to greater heights.

Choji said the appointment would also help to address both environmental and other critical challenges being faced in the society.

He explained that Hart hails from Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers, and a professor of Hydrobiology and Fisheries Biology at the University of Port Harcourt.

“She attended University of Ibadan and the University of Port Harcourt, where she bagged her Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate degrees between 1979, 1983 and 1994, respectively.

“Besides her professorial post at the University of Port Harcourt, Hart is the Coordinator of the Hydrobiology/Fisheries Unit and Chair occupant, Bruce Powell Chair of Hydrobiology Fisheries.

“She is also a permanent member of Senate, Associate Dean Faculty of Biological Science, Director of Institute of Natural Resource Environment and Sustainable Development (INRES).

“Also, a Vice-Chairman to Bonny Environmental Consultative Committee,” he said.

Choji added that Hart serves as Patron to Niger Delta Students Union Government Rivers State branch, University of Port Harcourt chapter, Editor-in-Chief of the Nigerian Journal of Fisheries, and member of Fisheries Society of Nigeria.

According to him, Hart is a member of several national and international associations, including the Science Association of Nigeria, Aquatic Sciences of Nigeria.

“Also, Pan African Fish and Fisheries Association, World Aquaculture Society, United States, Aquaculture Society and the Asian Pacific Chapter of the World Aquaculture Society.

“She is happily married and has authored several books and articles,” he added.

Choji said that the CSDevNet was the leading coalition of the CSOs, working on climate and sustainable development with the aim of addressing climate change issues.

In her response, she commended the Network’s efforts towards facilitating a climate-resilience for sustainable Nigeria.

Hart assured to be committed by supporting the full attainment of the organisational objectives.

Experts call for proper disposal of wastewater


Experts have called for effective ways to dispose wastewater, because it was the leading cause of surface and ground water pollution.

Some Environmental and Health experts told the our correspondent that safe disposal of wastewater remained a serious problem in the country.

Mr Sylvester Arogundade, Earth and Environment Initiative, noted that indiscriminate wastewater disposal had the potential of causing groundwater and surface water contamination, leading to environmental pollution.

Wastewater, also known as sewage water is the polluted form of water generated through rainwater runoff and human activities, such as the use of pesticides, harmful medical wastes and toxic substances.

“It is estimated that the country will experience rapid growth in population, urbanisation, agricultural and industrial development.

“This growth will also result in corresponding increase in wastewater generation in urban areas raising concerns about environmental pollution resulting from the quality of wastewater disposed to sensitive environment.

“The effects of untreated or poorly treated wastewater can be detrimental to public health, the environment and the economy’’.

The expert noted that tiers of government ought to seek out measures to end problems of wastewater, saying delay in doing so may increase water-related diseases and rise in epidemics.

“From the side of the Federal, state and local governments, wastewater is still uncontrolled and unregulated.

“This means that we (the citizens) create and will have to solve our own wastewater problems. When we fail to; water-related diseases, and epidemics are inevitable’’.

Ms Joy Ikpeazu, an Environmental Health Officer, noted that communities, citizen groups and individuals could take active role in protecting their water sources from contamination.

She said a large number of products used at home contained hazardous substances which could contaminate ground or surface water, saying people must limit the use of pesticides and fertilisers while practicing farming.

Ikpeazu listed effects of water pollution to include; the destruction of biodiversity, contamination of food chain, low access to potable water, diseases and infant mortality.

“Groundwater can be contaminated by poorly or untreated household wastewater, which poses dangers to drinking water and to the environment.

“Once water is polluted or contaminated, it is difficult and costly to remove the pollutants.

“Malfunctioning septic tanks could release bacteria, viruses and chemicals to water ways, the average household septic system should be inspected at least every three years by a professional’’.

She, however, called for safe treatment of wastewater, so as to make it useful for irrigation and energy production, saying the UN had predicted that half of the world’s population would live in water-scare areas by 2025.

Bauchi agency seizes 3,290 bags of charcol

The Bauchi State Environmental Protection Agency (BASEPA), says it has confiscated and auctioned 3,290 bags of charcol between Jan. and Sept. 2021.

Mr Ibrahim Kabir, Director General of the Agency, made the disclosure in an interview with our correspondent in Bauchi on Wednesday.

Kabir said the commodity was confiscated by the staff of the agency deployed across the state to guard against indiscriminate felling of trees.

He said that 20 persons had been arrested and prosecuted for the offence, stressing that the Agency would not hesitate to arrest, confiscate and prosecute culprits found to be involved in destroying forest resources in the state.

Kabir, who attributed the array of ecological problems affecting the state to deforestation, stressed the need for planting of trees instead of cutting them down.

He said that tree felling and other unfriendly environmental practices negatively affected the ecosystem and destroyed biodiversity.

The Agency, he said, also directed loggers using power saw (tree cutting machine) to register with it or face sanction.

“Owners of the power saw must obtain a liciense from the agency and they must seek for permission before cutting down trees.

“Some of the legitimate reasons for cutting down tree are when it was declared harzadous and it could cause accident to the environment, for construction purposes, road obstruction or natural fall,” he said.

Why Nigerians don’t go to zoos again— Experts

Some experts have decried what they called disappearing zoo culture in the country, attributing it to poor maintenance of most zoological gardens and the current state of the nation’s economy.

Answering questions during a survey with our correspondent, the experts said that the poor state of the economy had compelled most Nigerians to consider visiting zoological gardens as secondary.

A don, Prof. Lameed Gbolagade, told our correspondent that the current state of economy in the country made many people prefer basic human needs, such as food, shelter and clothing, to leisure or relaxation.

According to Gbolagade, hardly do Nigerians consider going to zoological gardens as relevant or important any more, except students who are compelled by their various institutions and few others.

“Zoological gardens and other places of tourism are at the receiving end of such rejection.

“The money accruable from ticketing has been grossly reduced. Consequently, many animals are being starved or deprived of basic necessities,” he said.

Gbolagade, who is from the Department of Wildlife and Ecotourism Management, University of Ibadan, however, said some zoological gardens were still managing to survive in spite of the challenges.

“We have the University of Ibadan Zoological Garden, University of Ilorin Zoological Garden, FUNAAB Zoo and Obasanjo Library Zoo, among others.
“However, many zoological gardens, such as Agodi Gardens and some others, have folded up due to reasons bordering on financial incapability as well as manpower and institutional-based problems.

“Others have ceased to exist due to low patronage as well as lack of good and healthy species that can be displayed in the zoo.

“The species are called ‘keystone species’, such as the big five: lion, elephant, buffalo, giraffe and python/chimpanzee/gorilla, all of which can attract visitors’ interests,” he said.

Gbolagade said many people were yet to recover from Ebola and COVID-19 pandemics which, he said, were erroneously believed to be caused by exposure to wild animals.

The don added that many zoological gardens could not afford to feed their animals, pay the salaries and emoluments of their workers and meet other necessities.

“However, new zoos are coming up, either from individuals or institutions, depending on conservation interest and ability to manage the species of animals in captivity,” he said.

Also, Dr Amos Olorunnipa, an expert in Anthropology, Cultural Studies and Heritage Consultancy, noted that there were some zoological gardens in some locations, although they might not be fully functioning.

“There are zoological gardens in places like Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and Jos in Plateau,” Olorunnipa said.

He attributed the closure of some zoological gardens to factors such as inadequate management, lack of enough space, food, water and veterinary care as well as lack of interest on the part of visitors and poor finances.

Olorunnipa said that zoological gardens were no longer visited regularly by most people due to the current economic hardship in the country, lack of financial backing, increase in zoo entry charges, insecurity, kidnapping, banditry and insurgency.

The don also listed COVID-19 pandemic and absence of some animals that usually attracted visitors as part of the reasons for closure of some zoological gardens.

“Another likely factor may be the story of some dangerous animals already heard by the public, while some may think that visiting the zoo is not as educative nowadays as it used to be,” he said.

Olorunnipa however, stressed the need for revival in zoo management, importation of more wild animals that could attract visitors and intensification of public enlightenment.

For Mr Tony Adegoke, an Osogbo based zoologist, poor budgetary allocation, inadequate maintenance and illegal killing of wildlife were major setbacks to development and sustenance of zoological gardens in Nigeria.

“If both the state and federal governments can allocate enough funds for the maintenance of the animals, some of the ailing zoological gardens can still come alive for the benefit of the people,” Adegoke said.

Society pledges mineral exploration in Yobe

Mr Mohammad Audu, the newly elected Chairman of the Nigeria Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS), Yobe Chapter, has pledged sound programmes to fast track mineral exploration in the state.

Audu made the pledge in Damaturu on Wednesday when he paid a courtesy visit to the state’s Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs, Dr Garba Iliya.

He noted that there were various mineral deposits in the state, including gypsum, kaolin, limestone and potash.

The Chairman said the society would also liaise with relevant agencies to check illegal mining and indiscriminate drilling of boreholes.

The organisation, he said, would ensure that members’ registration was up to date in order to tackle menace of quackery.

In his remarks, Iliya congratulated the society for electing its leaders for the first time since the creation of the state in 1991.

Illiya said it was in recognition of the role of the society in nation building that Gov Mai Mala Buni appointed geoscientists as commissioners, permanent secretaries and directors in the state civil service.

The commissioner advised the chairman to fear God and implement programmes towards improving welfare of members.

31 Nigerian cities risk flooding, experts warn

A fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Mr Sunday Egbiki, has raised an alarm that 31 Nigerian cities risk being washed away by flood.

Egbiki, a lecturer in the Maritime University, Delta State, raised the alarm while delivering a lecture at a virtual/physical conference of the 2021 Engineering Week organised by the Apapa Branch of NSE.

Speaking on the topic “Green Buildings and Infrastructures: Panacea for Mitigating Climate Actions,” he advised policy makers to pay more attention to flooding, which he said was more dangerous than building collapse.

He called for urgent measures to avert the looming disaster.

According to him, when buildings collapse, casualties are usually minimised to those within the structure, but flood washes off everything including cities within its part.

He added that flood regulatory bodies should be inaugurated nationwide, as flooding was not caused by impact of rainfall alone but by climate change affecting hydrological system.

He called on Federal and State governments to adopt Integrated Flood Management System by embracing green building and green infrastructure.

He said trends had moved from flood control to flood management, which freed channels for flood to discharge into rivers and other water bodies without obstructions.

“Out of the 36 states in Nigeria, it is only five cities that are not affected by flooding.

“The Federal Government should first of all take the green initiative by setting up flood managers that should be moving from one state to another,” he said.

He said the government should move away from being reactive to become proactive in averting flood, adding that, economic well being of Nigeria would be determined by positive climate actions.

“Each state should have their own flood managers that will be giving advice to government,” he said.

The guest lecturer defined green buildings as ways of using renewable energy and other construction conservation methods to achieve less carbon footprints in homes and the country at large.

Citing Lagos State as an example, Egbiki said several flood plains had been built up resulting in constant flooding being experienced in the state.

He said the Lekki axis, which was expected to be a buffer zone had almost been entirely built up causing the area to be currently lying two meters below sea level warning that disaster looms.

He, however, commended the Lagos State government for recently training 30 green construction experts who would in turn train others to ensure green building and infrastructure to mitigate climate action.

The guest lecturer warned that Germany, which had not experienced massive flooding in the past recently had some whole communities washed away because of adverse effects of flood.

According to him, Net Zero Carbon Buildings will ensure adoption of construction methods that lowered energy and water consumption in houses thereby reducing carbon footprints.

He said green infrastructure could also be adapted in construction of roads, drains and other major infrastructure citing Netherlands lying six feet below sea level as an example.

He explained that the government of Netherlands had to pay compensations and demolished all buildings along its flood plains and turned the area into a tourism site thereby earning revenue from solving a major problem.

He called for partnership between government, industries and the academia towards positive climate action to help Nigeria key into SDG goals 11 and 13 to save the nation from disaster.

He said energy consumption would grow by 37 per cent globally by 2035 while developing countries including Nigeria will record population growth of 96 per cent, hence the need to work on the achievement of SDGs which targets zero net carbon by 2030.

Chairman of the Apapa Branch of NSE, Mr Christian Ufot, said the branch was passionate about resolving perennial flooding in Lagos and other states, hence the choice of the topic for its weeklong programme.

“Flooding causes more havoc than building collapse,” he said. 

Lack of customers delays metering by Benue Water Board

Mr Gideon Shenge, General Manager, Benue State Water Board, says lack of customers is delaying the commencement of water metering the state.

Shenge told our correspondent on Monday in Makurdi, that the government had already acquired over 1,000 meters for installation.

He said that the board lacked customers to commence the water metering.

The general manager explained that at least a minimum of 50 customers were needed for the programme to commence within any given area.

Shenge said that the board had decided to use Kwararafa area of Makurdi, the state capital for the pilot scheme, but there were still no customers.

He explained that all the meters were free, adding that each household was expected to pay N14, 000 installation charges.

“Kwararafa area is the pilot area for the installation of meters. The challenge is that we are supposed to have a minimum of 50 customers to start the programme, but until now, the number of customers are not up to 50 and they must be at least 50, before we can start the programme.

“We have 1,000 meters ready for installation. The meters are free and customers will only pay N14, 000 installation fees per household,” he said.

Shenge disclosed that the state government had rehabilitated the old Otukpo and old Makurdi water works that would soon be inaugurated for improved water supply.

He admitted that though the new Katsina-Ala and Otukpo water works were completed many years ago, the works were not in use because of contractual disagreement between CGC Nigeria Ltd., and Benue State Government.

Shenge said, “It is only the Makurdi Greater Water Works and Otukpo Works that are functioning. The new Katsina-Ala and Otukpo water works that were handled by CGC Nig. Ltd., are not working at the moment.

“The challenge is that there is contract mishap which is the duty of the ministry to handle. The issue is that CGC were not fair in their estimate. The arrangement was not properly done.”

The general manager also said that the board had already extended water supply to Commissioner Quarters, Katyo and Nyiman settlements.

He said the board would continue to do its best to improve water supply to Benue people. 

Flood sacks Adamawa community, destroys 150 farmlands, 66 houses – ADSEMA

Adamawa State Emergency Management Agency (ADSEMA), says  66 houses and  150 farmlands  were destroyed by flood in Lababiri village, Bakta district in Shelleng Local Government Area of the state.Dr Mohamed Sulaiman, Executive Secretary, ADSEMA, confirmed the development to our correspondent on Saturday in Yola.Sulaiman said the catastrophe occurred between Aug. 11 and  12, following uninterrupted  torrential downpours that lasted for two days.“”The agency received a report of  the incident in Lababiri village, where  more than 150 farmlands and about 66 houses were destroyed by the flood,” Sulaiman said.He said people of the affected community, were currently  taking refuge in neighbouring villages.The ADSEMA boss, however, said the number of casualties were yet to be ascertained, adding that it had deployed some staff for more details and emergency services. 

Migrating elephant herd in SW China’s Yunnan heads for home after long trek

On the evening of August 8, 14 wild elephants which had been migrating northward in southwest China’s Yunnan province crossed the Yuanjiang River safely and continued to head south, according to a press conference held recently in Kunming city, capital city of Yunnan.

The elephant herd is now in a wood near Honghe subdistrict, Yuanjiang county, Yuxi city of Yunnan, which is 26 kilometers away from Mojiang county, Pu’er city of the province.

This means that all the original 15 Asian elephants heading north, including one male separated from the herd that was returned to their original habitat in a nature reserve in Yunnan’s Xishuangbannan Dai autonomous prefecture on July 7, have been on their way home.

According to Wan Yong, who heads the headquarters in charge of monitoring the migrating elephants, these elephants left their original habitat in March 2020. In July 2020, the herd entered Pu’er city. Then on April 16, 2021, they wandered into Yuanjiang county, Yuxi city of Yunnan.

Since then, the herd has trekked more than 1,300 kilometers and over 110 days through eight county-level regions under Yuxi city, Hani and Yi autonomous prefecture and Kunming city of Yunnan.

In response to the migrating elephants, Yunnan has evacuated residents and promoted claims settlement regarding relevant damages while monitoring the elephants, making efforts to ensure the safety of both residents along the route as well as the animals.

As of August 8, Yunnan province had dispatched over 25,000 police officers and relevant staff members, deployed 973 drones and over 15,000 vehicles to monitor and guide the migrating elephants. Meanwhile, the province had evacuated more than 150,000 residents to avoid conflicts between them and the migrating elephant herd and provided nearly 180 tons of food for the herd, pointed out Wan, who is also head of the forestry and grassland bureau of Yunnan.

Wildlife public liability insurance companies had received 1,501 cases of declaration of losses caused by the migrating elephants, and assessed the losses at about 5.13 million yuan (about $790,548). They have completed 939 claims and redeemed insurance premiums of over 2.16 million yuan, advancing insurance work in an orderly manner.

In just a few days, staff members of the headquarters in charge of monitoring the migrating elephants walked along the 76-kilometer-riverway of the Yuanjiang River and finally found the best route for the elephant herd to cross the river based on its location and the potential risks and dangers in river-crossing. They decided to guide the elephant herd to an old bridge near the Yuanjiang entrance toll station of Kunming-Mohan Expressway, helping them overcome the biggest obstacle on their way back south, according to Yang Yingyong, who has been in charge of safety precautions and emergency response for the migrating elephants in Yuxi city.

Although the elephant herd has crossed the Yuanjiang River safely, relevant safety precautions and emergency response work will continue until the elephants enter their habitat in Mojiang county, where they will be put under regular management by Pu’er city and Xishuangbannan Dai autonomous prefecture, Wan noted.

The population of Asian elephants in Yunnan has grown to over 300 from about 150 in 1978. As of the end of 2020, the home ranges of Asian elephants have expanded to 55 townships in 11 county-level regions of three cities and prefectures of Yunnan, many are outside the nature reserve.

“Next, we will gather pace in building a national park for Asian elephants and improving their habitats, striving to enable human beings and elephants to live together in harmony,” Wan said.

Since the beginning of the migration, many experts and technicians in wildlife, information communication, and other fields have joined the efforts to protect the herd and local residents and help with the migration. They have conducted research while applying research findings in their work, and preserved massive data from scientific research, monitoring and early warning, and emergency response in the whole process, said Chen Fei, director of the Asian elephant research center under the National Forestry and Grassland Administration of China as well as a member of the expert team established for the migrating elephants.

The headquarters have creatively and gently intervened in the migration by predicting the elephants’ migration routes, conducting security control, and attracting them with food, which can be helpful for alleviating “human-elephant conflict” and even “human-animal conflict” in the future, Chen pointed out.

By Wan Yu, People’s Daily

NYSC launches monthly sanitation exercise in Niger

 The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) on Saturday flagged-off  the nationwide monthly environmental sanitation exercise across the 25 Local Government Areas ( LGAs) in Niger.

Brig.-Gen Shuaibu Ibrahim, Director -General of NYSC, flagged off the monthly exercise tagged: “Clean Environment/Good hygiene; Panacea for Good Health and Long Life” at the Emir’s Palace in Minna.

Ibrahim, who was represented by Mrs Funmilayo Ajayi, NYSC Coordinator in the state  explained that environmental sanitation was one of the key requirements for the prevention of diseases and their escalation.

He said the exercise was to enlighten the general public especially the rural dwellers, on the health risk of poor hygiene, with focus on prevention of contamination of food, water and the environment.

The director-general said that the exercise would include mobilisation of members of the communities to participate in the exercise, as well as sensitisation, disease surveillance and report of outbreaks.

He noted that most ailments diagnosed and treated during the recently conducted nationwide medical outreach, Health Initiative for Rural Dwellers, by corps members which impacted  the lives of people, was as a result of poor hygiene.

Ibrahim expressed optimism that a continuation of the sanitation exercise would help reduce to the barest minimum, malaria and other related diseases in the state and the country at large.

In his remarks, the Emir of Minna, Dr Umaru Bahago, stated that clean environment prevented transmission of diseases, adding that cleanliness  was one of the secrets for people to live a long life.

Bahago, who was represented by Dr Mohammed Dankaka, Maianguwan Nasarawa, called on residents to always ensure that their environment was clean and pledged the emirate’s support for the sustainability of the exercise.

Mr Sunday Aroni, Deputy Director, Corps Welfare and Health Services from the scheme’s Head Office, said the exercise was an upshoot of the recently conducted medical outreach.

He called on corps members to avail themselves for the exercise in order to have a healthy environment.