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NGO commends Gombe’s massive tree-planting initiative to check desertification



Jewel Environmental Initiative (JEI), an NGO has commended the Gombe State Government for initiating a massive tree-planting scheme aimed at growing four million trees across the state in four years.

The programme tagged: “Gombe Goes Green (3G), is an initiative of Gov. Inuwa Yahaya’s administration to plant one million trees every year within the next four years to tackle the menace of desertification in the state.

Mr Ismail Bima, the Chief Executive Officer of the NGO, which focuses on environmental challenges in the state, made the commendation in an interview with Nigeria News Agency in Gombe on Thursday.

Bima said that the initiative was long overdue in view of the serious environmental threat of desertification in the state, adding that the project would help to rectify the environmental damages in the state.

“I commend the present administration for this initiative of planting over four million trees to address the menace of desertification. It is laudable and we as environmentalists are excited.

“This is refreshing and exceptional because no administration had embarked on such revolution to make Gombe State green again. We as NGOs in the state have been canvassing for this.

“The project is a positive response to our appeals. The government has heard the plights of the people. We are in environmental crises with the few trees we now have in Gombe.

“Imagine four million trees in Gombe State within the project period; it will greatly impact positively in reducing environmental degradation, erosion, and desertification,’’ he said.

Bima said that the programme would also provide jobs for the youths as government planned to engage 27, 000 youths on a monthly pay of N7, 500 to nurse the trees to maturity.

While attributing the major challenge of the project to getting tree seedlings for the four million tree planting scheme, he appealed to the international organisations and national bodies to support the government’s initiative.

He also commended the state government for partnering with NEWMAP in the procurement of  tree seedlings, adding that such partnership has yielded 500, 000 seedlings to be used as a pilot.

“ To address the challenge of seedlings, the state government also established nurseries in Bogo, Kwadom, Kanawa forest, Kwami, and Kaltungo to feed the project with the needed boost,’’ he said.

He appealed to all residents of Gombe to see the project as a collective responsibility to address the environmental challenges bedevilling the state by picking interest in watching over the trees planted in their domains.

NAN reports that Gombe is amongst the 11 desertification frontline states alongside Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara.

In Gombe State, the frontline local government areas that are most prone to desertification include Dukku, Funakaye, Nafada and Kwami.



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.





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We’re set to tackle flood in Lagos State— LASEMA



Dr Oluwafemi Oke-Osayintolu, Director-General, Lagos Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), says the agency is set to tackle challenges against flood in the state.

Oke-Osayintolu spoke on Thursday at a roadshow for Flood Awareness Campaign and Strengthening of Local Emergency Management Committees (LEMC) in Lagos.

Oke-Osanyintolu said that following the prediction made by NIMET on vulnerability to flood, there was need to sensitise the citizens on how best to prepare and mitigate flood.

The LASEMA chief said the current administration of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has placed priority on safety of lives and property on his agenda.

“We need to ensure safety of our people, and in conjunction with all key stakeholders that are in emergency, we are kick-starting a road show to create awareness to our people on what they are vulnerable to,” he said.

The director-general said that directives have been given to all local governments to carry out biometrics of all citizens in the community to have comprehensive data in place.

“All local governments in Lagos State that are vulnerable to flood have been directed to carry out a digital biometrics of all citizens in their localities to have comprehensive data.

“The essence of biometric is to know the numbers of our citizens that are vulnerable to flood, and to sure their safety for swift, prompt and efficient response to any citizen that is vulnerable to flood.

“We have also carried out simulation exercises in cases there is any flood, we are best prepared.

“We urge residents to remain calm, no panic as the governor has put measures in place to ameliorate and prevent flood in the state,” Oke-Osanyintolu said.

He said that cleaning and clearing of the primary and secondary drainage systems have been done, while the primary healthcare services has been improved by the Ministry of Health for any eventuality during flood.

The director-general said that the relief camp was ready to receive displaced members of the public.

The director-general warned that all buildings and construction along drainage systems had been marked for demolition.

He called for proper approval before any construction.


Edited by Olagoke Olatoye

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Take proactive measures to prevent flooding, Jigawa monarch advises subjects



The Emir of Dutse in Jigawa, Alhaji Nuhu Sunusi, has advised the people to take proactive measures to prevent flooding in their areas.

Sunusi gave the advice when the Deputy Governor of Jigawa, Malam Umar Namadi, paid him a sympathy visit over the recent flooding that ravaged some wards in Dutse and Birnin Kudu Local Government Areas of the state.

He urged the people to always avoid dumping refuse in culverts and drains to avert flooding.

The Emir appealed to the state government to come to the aid of those affected by the recent flooding in his domain.

The traditional ruler lauded Namadi for the visit and promised that the Emirate Council would continue to support the government in achieving its laudable objectives.

Earlier, Namadi noted that he was in Dutse to sympathise with the Emir and his subjects on the recent flood disaster that ravaged the two council areas.

The deputy governor said the state government would bring relief to the victims of the flooding.

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Don wants govts to embrace waste-to-wealth programme to combat unemployment



Dr Joe Okeke of the Faculty of Microbiology, University of Nigeria (UNN) Nsukka, has called on the three tiers of  government to explore opportunities inherent in  converting waste to wealth for improved economy.


Okeke speaking with the Nigeria News Agency in Awka on Thursday also pleaded with the relevant authorities to give him a chance to prove his capabilities in the area.


He said that the end products could be sold to corporate organisations  and individuals who were into agriculture-related  sector to generate revenue for  governments.


Okeke added that  the programme would also serve as employment opportunities for several unemployed people.


“It is a known fact that Nigeria with her large population generates huge wastes; if properly converted through waste management it will give the country relief from youth restiveness.


“We can make it big if governments at all levels will support ideas like the one I am offering the nation,” he said.


Okeke said that visitations by government officials to waste recycling plants outside the country should bring about tangible outcomes to the country.


He said that some time ago, Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra visited a waste recycling plant in Austria.


He said that the reports from such a visit should be turned to experts in waste management for proper implementation for the good of all.


“There is no way they (the Executive Arm of government) will know what to do when it comes to putting such venture in place.


“I am calling on all that cares to know that there are millions of jobs that can be created by recycling waste to wealth for the benefits of the nation,” he said.


NAN, however, reports that in August 2018, the Anambra  Government  entered into a partnership with an Austrian firm, Energie Verso gung Margarethen, Vienna, on sustainable management of wastes in the state.


Gov. Willie Obiano had then told newsmen after a meeting with a delegation of investors from Austria held at the Governor’s Lodge in Amawbia that the partnership was a fallout of his recent tour of  Austria.


The governor added then that under the partnership, the state government would be able to  convert wastes generated by its citizens into  sustainable energy that would  boost the economic growth of the state.


Obiano said that the environmental technology firm would fund the project while the state government would provide wastes and the site for the establishment of the plant.


The governor  said then that the firm was ready to replicate in Anambra  what it had done in Vienna, Germany and in India.


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Association lists hurdles at Ojota dumpsite



Waste Association lists hurdles at Ojota dump site

The Chairman, TopSand Waste Pickers Association, Mr Taiwo Abiodun, on Wednesday identified insufficient trucks, lack of First Aid Centre and good road networks as major challenges at the Ojota dump site.

Abiodun made this known in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos.

According to him, the  seven trucks currently at the dump site are not enough to push the waste far away from the surface of the roads into the swampy areas.

”The dump site can still serve its purpose for the next 10 years.

”There are still many swampy areas yet to be filled up and compacted.

”At present, there are just  seven trucks at the dumpsite and this is not enough as you can see.

”We need more caterpillars for the waste to be properly taking care of, and we are appealing to the Lagos State Government to mobilise more caterpillars to the dump site,” he said.

Abiodun said that the dump site had over 3, 000 waste pickers currently working  there and were registered with the association and that the association was there to take care of the welfare of all its members and others visiting the dumpsite daily.

Mr Julius Amaechi, the association’s secretary said that there was a dare need of a  First Aid centre at the dump site.

”How we operate here is that when the trucks gets to the platform to off load, the waste pickets in larger numbers rushed to the platform to pick materials dear to them.

”In the process, some of them get injured by some sharp materials or by the truck or by the caterpillar when its coming to push the waste out of the platform.

”We have cases like that every day and our task force will rush and rescue them.

”When they bring them out the problems had been to get prompt first aid treatment for the victims,” he said.

Amaechi said that the areas needed a good road networks so that trucks would enter from one gate and go out through the other gate.

He said that it would help to decongest the roads and facilitate trucks off loading easily and doing as many trips as possible.

Mr Raymond Ikenna, the Association’s Vice Chairman, said that some of the resourceful waste picked by the waste pickers included iron, pet and normal bottles, nylons and cartons.

He said that others were aluminium products such as cans, scrap coppers, brass and panels among others.

According to him, the materials were sold by scales of one kilo, five kilos, 10 kilos among others.

He said that  the pet bottles were sold for N44 per kilo, adding that prices varies per kilo for other waste materials.

Ikenna said that when a particular waste materials reached 10 tonnes to fill a truck, the buyers would then arrange for trucks to take them outside the dump sites to various companies that needed them.

He said that the association  had taskforce that maintained law and order in the dumpsite, and ensure that no good was stolen from the place.

Ikenna said that the waste pickers needed financial support and necessary training  on good practices and how to take care of their health as well as sanitise the dumpsite.

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