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Biosafety agency warns against importation of genetically modified grains without permit

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The National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) has warned against the importation of genetically modified grains without the agency’s permit.

Ebegba warned that the agency in collaboration with security operatives would arrest any erring importer to safeguard human health and the environment.

“I wish to use this opportunity to sound a note of warning to importers of grains that they should not import into this country any genetically modified grain in the form of soybean or maize.

“I wish to assure Nigerians that they need not be afraid, National Biosafety Management Agency has been established to ensure that they are protected from potentially harmful impact of Genetically Modified Organisms(GMOs).

“On this note it is only the GMOs that we confirm safe that will be allowed for consumption or planting or for sale in Nigeria.

“I use this opportunity to let them know that the agency will work to ensure this technology is applied for the safety and economic prosperity of Nigerians.”

NAN reports that the NBMA was established in 2015 by an Act of Parliament.

It ensures adequate level of protection in the field of safety transfer, handling and use of GMOs, resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Environment

Minister assures good working relations, protection of environment

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Mr Mohammed Abubakar, the Minister of Environment on Wednesday assured Nigerians and staff of the ministry of good working relations and effective protection of the nation’s environment.

Abubakar gave the assurance in Abuja while addressing staff of the ministry as he assumed duty.

He said that environment generally was a sensitive area because it was all about people and their behaviours, adding that it must be protected to prevent spreading of diseases.

“Most people don’t know the importance of environment, I want to let them know that everything about environment is about people and when the environment is not healthy, nothing else is healthy.

“I know much about the ministry even before the name was changed; I already have good relationship with the ministry.

“So, we should all know and believe that everything about environment is life and that particular life must be protected.

“We must provide a good healthy living environment to avoid spreading of any form of diseases in the country; that is our major mandate,’’ he said.

Abubbakar urged all the staff of the ministry to be committed in order to achieve greater result.

He also welcomed Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, who was also appointed as a State of Minister of the ministry.

He said that the Ikeazor had been a committed person, adding that cordial working relationship would help the ministry achieve it mandates and objectives.

Ikeazor, while appreciating the minister and the staff, she said that she would put all her best to achieve the goals of the ministry.

She said that she would ensure that all the agencies and departments of the ministry would bring out the best for the betterment of the ministry and the country at large.

Mrs Odusote Abimbola, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry earlier welcomed the two ministers and assured them of good working relations.

“I want to assure you that all the staff of the ministry are  ready and committed to work with you.

“We are very friendly people and ready to do our job as it should be.

“On behalf of the staff, we are going to work with you and give you the best to ensure that the mandates and the objectives of the ministry are achieved adequately,’’ she said.

VOE/GY

Edited by Grace Yussuf

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Environment

Flood renders residents of 3 wards in Dutse homeless

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Flooding which ravaged some local government areas in Jigawa, has also rendered residents of three wards in Dutse metropolis homeless and destroyed property worth millions of naira.

The wards are Danmasara, Kachi and Zai, where affected persons are currently taking refuge in primary schools within the metropolis.

Malam Umar Namadi, Deputy Governor of Jigawa, who visited the areas on Wednesday to assess the situation, described the disaster as an act of God.

Namadi pledged that the state government would assist the victims.

Nigeria News Agency reports that though no life was lost following the disaster, however, houses, food items and farm lands were destroyed.

Ward Head of Kachi, Alh. Haruna Nababa, who spoke on behalf of the victims, appealed to the state and Federal Government to come to their aid.

Nababa told NAN in an exclusive interview that it would take residents of Kachi a while to recover from their losses.

“We really thank the Deputy Governor, Malam Umar Namadi, who visited us in our camps to see our situation with a view to assisting us.

“We are therefore appealing to the state and federal governments, through the relevant agencies and NGOs, to come to our aid,’’ Nababa said.

NAN recalls that Flood recently ravaged four local government areas of Jigawa namely; Miga, Auyo, Guri and Kirikasamma, where many lives and properties worth millions of naira, were lost.

AIS/DOR

Edited by Nyisom Fiyigon Dore

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Environment

Flood: SEMA sets up resettling camps in Kaduna State

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The Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) says it has set up designated resettling camps to receive residents displaced by flood.

Mainunatu Abubakar, the Executive Secretary of SEMA, made this known on Wednesday in a meeting with stakeholders following the rising level of rivers in Kaduna State.

According to her, the agency is taking proactive measures by opening doors at all local education authority primary schools  in Kaduna North, Kaduna South, Igabi and Chikun local government areas of the state.

“Residents in flood-prone areas should move to primary schools within their community when the water level rises to avoid loss of lives,” Abubakar said.

She said the state had repeatedly been affected by the flood destroying property, displacing people and disrupting various activities in the state, hence the need for control.

Abubakar said that the purpose of the meeting was to ensure preparedness among stakeholders and residents of flood-prone communities.

“To end flooding in the state, there has to be synergy between all relevant stakeholders in the state because it cannot be done by SEMA alone,” she said.

She said that the flood situation was alarming as water levels kept increasing daily and that more communities were bound to be submerged if the situation subsisted.

“The Ministry of Environment, Health, local government chairmen, traditional rulers, fire service, Red Cross, civil defence, divers and various stakeholders are on stand-by in case of any emergency.”

She assured that the agency in collaboration with Christian aid had relief materials in stock to provide succour when the need arose.

Abubakar said that SEMA, NEMA and other partners would continue to sensitise the people on the need to leave the flood-prone communities before it was too late.

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Environment

Flooding: Anambra Assembly urges landlords to construct catchment pits to combat erosion

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The Anambra State House of Assembly has expressed the need for landlords in erosion-prone areas of the state to construct catchment pits in their neighbourhood to mitigate the impact of flooding.

In a resolution passed on Wednesday, the house urged Gov. Willie Obiano to direct the Ministry of Environment to encourage landlords in the state to adopt the catchment pits as erosion-control measure.

The resolution followed a motion under Matters of Urgent Public Importanc moved by Dr Pete Ibida, representing Njikoka I.

Ibida described Anambra as one of the most erosion-ravaged states in the country.

He regretted that the disaster had wrecked havoc in many communities and cities, killing some children and destroying many homes and farmlands.

He said: “Flood occasioned by heavy rainfall is ravaging our environment and landlords build water channels from their compounds emptying the water into the roads, thereby causing devastation on roads, houses and farmlands.

“Our soil in Anambra state is very weak and susceptible to quick devastation and erosion menace.

“I’m convinced that if landlords construct covered catchment pits in their premises and channel water into such pits, it will minimise heavy flooding.”

Contributing, Mr Obinna Emeneka (Anambra East) said that the resolution should not be applicable to all landlords in the state but landlords in flood-prone communities.

Emeneka also urged the Ministry of Environment, the House Committee on Environment and the Nigeria Erosion Watershed Management Project to evolve a lasting solution to the phenomenon.

Also, Mr Douglas Egbunna (Onitsha North 1) called on the ministry of environment to work with the National Orientation Agency to intensify its public sensitisation against dumping of refuse in drains to ensure free flow of rain water.

The Deputy Speaker, Dr Paschal Agbodike, who presided over plenary session, underscored the need for palliative measures, including catchment pits, to check the menace.

“We can have flood catchment pits inside the residential compounds, by the sides of roads, within or beside school compounds, by the side of farms, and other suitable places,” Agbodike said.

The house also passed a resolution calling on the governor to direct the Commissioner for Transportation and the state traffic management agency to take urgent steps to decongest the Oko Road.

The motion was moved by Mr Emeka Aforka (Orumba North), who decried the unruly activities of transporters on the road.

He accused the transporters of picking and dropping commuters indiscriminately on the road, “thereby causing heavy traffic and accidents on the road.”

Ruling on the motion, the deputy speaker urged Obiano to repair the roads around the Oko Polytechnic and also direct the Ministry of Transportation and the state traffic management agency to urgently decongest the road.

“Oko is the only Federal Polytechnic that we have in the state and we must guard it jealously,” he said.

 

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Environment

Rain: Flood takes over residential areas in Maiduguri

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Flood has taken over  residential quarters and major roads in Maiduguri following heavy rainfall in the past two days in the metropolis.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the rain which lasted for many hours on Monday and Tuesday, resulted to flooding in residential areas and other strategic locations in the metropolis.

Some of the affected areas include Polo, Gomari major roads and Bakassi Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp.

A cross section of the residents who spoke with NAN attributed the flooding to the blockage of waterways due to indiscriminate dumping of waste into drains.

Mr Abdulrahim Abba, a resident of Polo area, said his house was submerged by water due to blockage of drains in the area.

Abba said that water filled his home and caused damaged to some households belongings.

“There is too much water flowing into my compound, the entire house is submerged.

“The drains are blocked which makes the water run into residential homes,” he said.

Mrs Hauwa Ali, a displaced person at the Bakassi camp said that her tent and several others were submerged due to lack of outlets to drain the water from the camp.

Another resident, Mohammed Shehu, decried the perennial flooding in major roads due to blockage of drains in the metropolis.

Shehu called on the people to clear drains and desist from further dumping of waste in waterways to control flooding.

NAN reports that the flood also affected roads such as London, Old GRA and Bulunkutu areas of the metropolis due to the ongoing rehabilitation works in the localities.

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