A group, Coalition of Civil Society for Good Governance, has urged the Plateau House of Assembly, to suspend moves to pass a bill seeking to privatise the water supply in the state.
In a letter to the Speaker of the house, Mr. Joshua Madaki signed and dated May 17 by the group’s Coordinator, Mr Steve Aluko, the coalition alleged that the bill was anti people.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that a bill for a law to provide for a law for the Plateau water sector and other matters connected 2018 is now before the house, awaiting passage.
According to the group, the passage of the bill will simply translate into hike in water tariff, hence making the essential commodity available to only the rich in the state.
It noted that the passage of the bill would also make the people of the state lose confidence in the government of the day and affect the fragile peace being enjoyed in the state.
The coalition also said that Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs), women and youths group, religious and traditional rulers, among others, were not carried along in the process of passing the bill.
The group alleged that the public hearing held on the bill on April 16 was lopsided.
“As a coalition, our collective aim has been to ensure that the people are carried along in the policy making process and their inputs considered, so as to ensure effective and popular implementation.
“Mr Speaker, we will like to note that if the water sector bill is passed, there will be a hike in water tariff thereby making water available to just those that can afford it,’ the group stated.
The coalition expressed fears that it would be difficult to regulate the activities of the management of such private concerns since they would be purely profit driven.
It stated: “This will not tally with government philosophy of service delivery especially on a basic commodity as water.
“Also, the quality of the water supplied may be compromised on the altar of profit making.
“Sir, it is against this background that we sincerely appeal to this noble assembly to suspend or disregard the bill as it will not represent or serve a genuine interest of the people of the state.”
The coalition further appealed to Gov. Simon Lalong, not to assent to the bill if eventually passed and transmitted to him.
The group urged the governor to consult key the stakeholders before considering the bill.
Harnessing young peoples potential to mitigate climate action in Nigeria
Harnessing young peoples’ potential to mitigate climate action in Nigeria
By Dianabasi Effiong, Nigeria News Agency
The Federal Ministry of Environment, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Aug. 15 hosted a two-day Regional Youth Climate Incubation Hub for select youths in Nigeria’s South-South Zone.
The forum was the first in a programme designed by organisers to cover six zones and further strengthen Nigeria’s position as a member country of the United Nations’ Youth Engagement and Public Mobilisation track at the Climate Action Summit.
The summit is slated for Sept. 23 in New York for participants to offer ideas on ways to stop the increase in emissions by 2020 and “dramatically reduce emissions to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century’’, among others.
The Port Harcourt event, facilitated by Health of the Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), an environmental think-tank organisation, had participants drawn from Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Rivers States.
A trending document on UN Climate Action Summit 2019 from the global organisation stated that Global emissions had reached record levels.
It stated: “The last four years were the four hottest on record, and winter temperatures in the Arctic have risen by 3°C since 1990.
“Sea levels are rising, coral reefs are dying, and we are starting to see the life-threatening impact of climate change on health, through air pollution, heat waves and risks to food security.
“The impacts of climate change are being felt everywhere and are having very real consequences on people’s lives. Climate change is disrupting national economies, costing us dearly today and even more tomorrow.
“But there is a growing recognition that affordable, scalable solutions are available now that will enable us all to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies.
“The latest analysis shows that if we act now, we can reduce carbon emissions within 12 years and hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C and even, as asked by the latest science, to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.’’
“Thankfully, we have the Paris Agreement – a visionary, viable, forward-looking policy framework that sets out exactly what needs to be done to stop climate disruption and reverse its impact.
It also stated, sadly, that “the agreement itself is meaningless without ambitious action’’.
The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, expects from world leaders at the proposed summit, innovative, concrete and realistic plans “to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050’’.
In reaction to such expectations, Mr Nnimmo Bassey, an Environmental Justice Advocate and Director of HOMEF, underscored the importance of the Youth Round table on Climate Action to unlock youth innovation in Nigeria’s climate action.
He also told participants at the forum, which included about 70 young people, that they were capable of brightest ideas for solving problems of climate change in Nigeria.
According to him, the greatest action government can take on gas flaring is to stop it and not to reduce it.
“If government can stop gas flaring by the year 2020 it will be a great achievement for the people to be released from the embarrassment on our environmental health and our children’s health,” Bassey said.
He also said that the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) should be put in place to penalise anybody or company that defaulted on gas flaring in Nigeria.
He called on government to take seriously, the ideas of youths on how to tackle climate change and global warming because it encapsulated their future and that of their children.
Also, Mr Sheyifumi Adebosey, a youth activist, told the forum that young people were the second most important group in addressing climate change because it is about their future.
Adebosey, who said that youth action on climate change to protect our environment had national value, also renewed the call for urgency in tackling the global climate change.
Similarly, Miss Anumenechi Stephanie, the Digital Communication Head of International Climate Change Development Initiative Africa (ICCDI), called for government’s collaboration with companies and Non-Governmental Organisations to stop gas flaring.
She said that such collaboration should ensure that gas is used for economic growth nstead of being flared.
Expectedly, the Federal Ministry of Environment, through its Department of Climate Change, charged participants on the imperatives of the event, adding that climate and climate change have become issues of global concern particularly in Third World countries like Nigeria.
Sa’adatu Gambo, a Senior Scientific Officer at the Department of Climate Change, who represented the Federal Ministry of Environment, said that the Department of Climate Change remained Nigeria’s focal point for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The expectation of the organisers were that “there will be an acceleration of key improvement on climate change’’ at the end of the event.
They also expected what they called “creative ideas that are specific, measurable, achievable, bankable, realistic and time bound, which will be harnessed and built from concept stage to actual implementation’’.
Participants also observed that issues of climate change called for emergency in Nigeria and that proactive measures should be taken by the Nigerian government to tackle it.
They also observed that the non-implementation of extant environmental laws and policies continually serve as major setback in the fight for a safe climate in Nigeria
The need to create more awareness among Nigerians, financial investment and transfer of technology to build human capacity and groom basic ideas to mitigate climate crises in Nigeria were also restated by participants at the Port Harcourt event.
The young people engaged in series of brain storming and Focused Group Discussion (FGD) where innovative ideas were proffered.
These included the need for that Climate Change Desk Officers at both Federal and State ministries in Nigeria who should ensure that participants in the Youth Climate Hub were further engaged on climate change issues.
They also recommended that biogas should be generated from household biodegradable waste and bio-digester while effort should be made on recycling in regards to plastic bottle collection and reuse and also waste segregation and separation.
The group as called for the establishment of environmental clubs and advocacy for target groups and also creating certain social documentaries on climate change in local dialects.
According to the “Youth Climate Incubation Hub’’, `Apps should be available to map vulnerable and non-vulnerable areas to climate change impact’ and solar panels should be made more affordable for the people.
The young people also called for Mangrove reclamation and tree planting, especially indigenous species and economic crops.
They said: “There is need for government at all levels to stop paying lip service and amplify action on climate change policy implementations.
“There should be a massive advocacy campaigns on the impact of climate change; the inclusion of climate change education in our curriculum at the various levels of learning in Nigeria.’’
According to the group, youths voices should be further amplified and their creative ideas on climate change harnessed.
They also stressed the need to strengthen existing structure to integrate women and marginalised groups’ participation in all levels in climate action in Nigeria. (NANFeatures)
Gov.Sule launches flood sensitisation campaign, cautions against erecting structures on water ways
By Awayi Kuje
Garaku(Nasarawa State), Aug.23,2019 Gov.Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has launched a flood awareness campaign with a call on residents of the state to avoid erecting structures along drains and water ways so as to avoid flooding.
Sule made the call on Friday in Garaku,Kokona Local Government Area while launching a sensitisation, Education and Awareness Campaign on Disaster Risk Management of the 2019 seasonal rainfall prediction on impending flood in the state .
He said flood had negative effects on societal development, hence the need for the people of the state to take precautionary measures against it in their own interest and for the overall development of the state.
“Let me appeal to the good people of Nasarawa State, particularly those that are living in areas that are prone to floods to take precautionary measures.
“We must as well educate ourselves on proper ways of refuse disposal, avoid erection of structures along drains and water ways which will block free passage of running water.
“It will be recalled that the Federal Ministry of Environment and Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) in collaboration with Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) have earlier issued warning of flooding particularly in 2019.
“They have predicted that this year’s rainy season will threaten communities living along river banks which will be affected by flood.
“It is on this note that the government considered it imperative to embark on mass sensitisation and awareness campaign to local government areas and flash points that are prone to flood disaster, in the state,”he said
The governor disclosed that the State Government was collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Environment in tackling environmental degradation in the state for the overall development of the country.
He directed the state Emergency Management Agency (NASEMA) to intensify campaign in sensitising and educating communities on the dangers of flooding to societal development.
He restated his commitment to key into good policies and programmes that would have direct bearing on the lives of the people of the state.
The Executive Secretary, state Emergency Management Agency (NASEMA), Mr Zachariah Allumaga ,urged the people of the state to avoid indiscriminate dumping of refuse on waters ways.
Allumaga said his called was based on NIMET prediction of impending flood in some Local government areas and flash points in the state.
In his vote of thanks, the Abaga Toni of Toni Chiefdom,Mr Lawrence Sylvester Ayih, commended the governor for launching the awareness campaign considering the negative effects of flooding on the society.
Mr Saidu Kurki, the Executive Chairman of Kokona Local Government Area of the state, thanked the governor for his developmental efforts toward improving the standard of living of the people.
“The event of today, no doubt is yet another manifestation that demonstrate your total commitment and concern toward the improvement of the living standard of our people.
“We as a council, therefore are indeed overwhelmed because the gesture will go a long way in saving lives and property of our people in the area and the state,”he said.
Edited by Saidu Adamu and Abdullahi Yusuf
Zaria water project: Kaduna govt. seeks refund of N24.4bn from FG
Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has asked the Federal Government to refund N24.4 billion, representing 30 percent of the money spent by the state on Zaria water project.
According to the governor, the refund was in line with relevant laws that stipulated 30 percent refund to states for any capital project executed.
The governor’s demand was contained in a statement by his Senior Adviser on Media and Communication, Mr Muyiwa Adeleke, issued in Kaduna on Friday.
El-Rufai however commended the Federal Ministry of Finance for earlier approving a refund of N17.3 billion for the project, but said the actual sum was N24.4 billion based on the current exchange rate of naira to the dollar.
He therefore appealed to the Federal Government for timely release of the fund, promising that the amount would be ploughed back into the Greater Kaduna Water Supply Project.
The governor further urged the Federal Government to construct the Itisi Dam to enable the state government execute the Greater Kaduna Water Project with ease.
According to him, the Greater Kaduna Water Supply Project, designed to expand water supply in the state capital, would cost 600 million dollars.
On the Zaria Water Supply and Expansion Project, the governor said N81.3 billion had been spent so far.
He said that the amount was expended on the project by the state government, Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
El-Rufai explained that the state government funded the Water Treatment Plant at the cost of N24.6 billion and paid N914.1 million for consultancy services.
“AfDB funded the rehabilitation and construction of water and sanitation facilities at the cost of 101 million dollars, which translates to N30.9 billion at the exchange rate of N306.50 to a dollar.
“While IsDB funded the construction of water facilities at the cost of 81 million dollars amounting to N24.8 billion.
“The amount injected by AfDB and IsDB was a loan that will be repaid by the state government,” he said.
The governor described the commissioning of Phase II of the Zaria Water Project as another milestone in reversing about three decades of water scarcity in the city.
Only 300 elephants remain in Nigeria’s wildlife – Conservation Foundation
The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) says that only about 300 elephants remain in the wildlife in Nigeria.
Soneye said that the rapidly dwindling number of forest elephants in Nigeria had made it imperative for all stakeholders to scale up the protection of the world’s largest living land animal.
“Two subspecies of the African elephants with an estimated population of about 300 individuals are currently living in the wildlife in Nigeria.
“The population of forest elephants are in dire need of protection in Nigeria,” he said.
According to him, while the NCF and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have spearheaded the protection of elephants in the country, there is the need for collaborative support and public awareness to protect them from extinction.
“The increasing interests and supports from corporate institutions towards sustainable practices and actions have added to the expansion of conservation influence in Nigeria.
“Expectedly, these efforts did pay off with the near-zero mortality rate recorded for the elephants in recent times.
“Nevertheless, sustained actions are needed to halt the indiscriminate habitat destruction and human-wildlife conflicts (HWC) triggering unpredictable behaviour and movements of Nigeria’s elephants out of their known home ranges.
“Enhancing civic awareness and galvanising wide-ranging supports for the elephants is visibly the practical pathway to tow,” he said.
Soneye added that there were emerging facts that Nigeria’s elephants needed collaborative engagements to survive beyond this generation.
Edited by Ifeyinwa Okonkwo and ‘Wale Sadeeq
Anambra SEMA adivises coastal communities on impending flooding
The Anambra State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has expressed the fear that coastal areas of the state may experience severe flooding this year.
The Executive Secretary of the agency, Chief Paul Odenigbo, said this during an early warning sensitisation tour of Ayamelum and Awka North Local Government Areas of the state on Thursday.
Odenigbo, who was represented by Mr Emeka Obinwa, the Executive Assistant to Gov. Willie Obiano on SEMA and Media, said that meteorological experts listed Anambra coastal communities among the areas that would experience flooding in 2019.
He said that the tour was intended to avert possible loss of lives and valuables in the area.
He said that government had mapped out holding centres at Omor Health Centre, Ifite Ogwari Health Centre, Skills Acquisition Centre, Ifite Ogwari, Health Centre, Igbakwu and Health Centre Umueje in Ayamelum.
He also said that similar holding centres were sited at Agueke Primary School, Ugbenu, Central School, Ugbenu and Central School, Oba Ofemmili in Awka north.
The SEMA official told participants drawn from coastal communities to assemble their vital documents and relocate to the holding centres for safety once they noticed flooding.
He said that although the centres might not be the best, government set them up as proactive measures to ensure that residents were not caught unawares.
Chief Anthony Achebe, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Fire, Safety and Utilities, warned that flooding in the coastal areas would persist except the River Niger was dredged.
Achebe urged farmers to always seek information on weather from SEMA and other relevant agencies to avoid huge losses to flood.
Mr Anthony Nnaama and Chief Kenneth Onyeabor, the President-Generals of Umumbo and Omor communities, respectively, commemded SEMA for the visit.
Nnaama said that it would be appreciated if government would avail farmers with early information ahead of the planting season.
He said, “last year we were affected by flooding and this year our farm is already flooded.”
Other speakers at the event appealed to governments at all levels to find a lasting solution to recurrent flooding in Nigeria.
“We gathered that River Niger overflowing it’s bank is the cause of the problem, so let government find lasting solution to the phenomenon,” they said.