Biosafety agency reinforces collaboration with Police



Ebegba made this known in a statement issued by Gloria Ogbaki, Head of Press, NBMA, in Abuja on Friday after a courtesy visit to the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command, Bala Ciroma.

He said the purpose of the meeting was to strengthen the collaboration between both organisations.

“We have come to acquaint ourselves with the new Commissioner of Police and ensure that our pre-existing collaboration with the Police continues seamlessly.

“This is to guarantee that our mandate to safeguard the use, handling and transportation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) is carried out effectively,’’ Ebegba said.

In his remarks, Ciroma gave an assurance that the collaboration between NBMA and the Nigeria Police would continue.

The commissioner said that it was part of the duty of the police to collaborate with regulatory agencies to ensure their mandates were carried out effectively.

“We understand the significance of your agency to Nigeria’s economy and how important your work is to achieving Nigeria’s food security.

“Therefore, we would do as much as possible to assist you in your responsibilities.

“We will have a better Nigeria where people can go to sleep without hunger,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the NBMA was established in 2015 by an Act of Parliament.

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


National Park Service in forefront of climate change mitigation- Conservator-General



Dr Ibrahim Goni, Conservator-General, National Park Service has said the service was in the forefront of climate change mitigation, drought and desertification in the country

Goni Said this when the Ambassador of the United Arab Emirate(UAE) to Nigeria , Dr Fahad Al Taffaq visited the National Park headquarters in Abuja on Thursday.

He said that the service also played important role in tackling ravaging  impact of erosion and floods.

The world is running out of time to effectively tackle the climate crisis and we must therefore change course and step up our ambition in order to prevent the worst climate impacts.

Climate and nature are intricately linked, so we would not be able to solve the global loss of nature without solving the climate crisis.

In turn, when we restore nature, we create healthy ecosystems, which locks away more carbon and helps stabilise our climate.

“This is why we at the National Park have stepped up action, and will continue to step up plans, by bringing more actors to the table to save Nigeria from the imminent effects of climate change, ” he said

Goni said the action should not just be about policy making but required a total commitment by all.

He said bush burning was a major challenge to those in protected and free areas, and advised Nigerians to avoid lighting fires, especially during this season of harmattan to avoid wildfires.

He said the activities of hoodlums, kidnappers, bandits, cattle rustlers, illegal logging, water poisoning and mining had become a source of worry for the national park.

Goni, however, said a total of 607 suspects had been arrested between January and November 2019 for various offences.

He said sighting of endangered species such as chimpanzee, leopard, gorilla, elephant, lion, buffalo, hippo, vulture, wild hog, gazelle wild dog, etc had become increasingly difficult in the nations national parks.

Goni said the UAE could help Nigeria in the area of reintroducing some of these endangered species back to the wild.

Al Taffaq said the purpose of the visit was to see how the UAE could collaborate with Nigeria  to reintroduce species that were extinct back to the wild in Nigeria.

He said UAE placed importance on wildlife and had reintroduced many species, which were being extinct back to the environment.

According to him, we have also identified certain habitats across the globe where those animals which were extinct are being reintroduced in some parts of the Sahara.

In Nigeria we can identify how we can execute several initiatives in various national parks and reserves and identify species that are extinct and we are looking forward to our collaboration to reintroduce them back to the wild.

That is the purpose of the visit. So we hope you get more ideas from everyone.

“”I believe the environment sector, especially wildlife is an important diamension in our relationship and it is something we can make the differences, he said

The Nigeria News Agency reports that high point of the event included a short video on how the UAE reintroduced the Oryx animal that was going extinct back to the wildlife in Chad and Tree planting by the Ambassador.( NAN)

Edited by: Okisor Angela/Felix Ajide


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Imo Assembly moves to recover undeveloped plots at Owerri Industial Layout



The Imo House of Assembly on Thursday adopted a motion for the recovery of undeveloped plots of land at the Owerri Industrial Layout.

The motion, entitled “Motion to recover vacant/unutilised lands at Owerri industrial layout held by private persons or companies,” was sponsored by Mr Paschal Okoli (Orlu PDP) and three others.

While moving the motion, Okoli said that the plots were allocated to individuals and companies with the aim of industrialising the state and creating jobs.

He regretted that since the plots were allocated over 35 years ago, some have remained fallow while some had been resold illegally by the original allottees.

The lawmaker urged the house to set up a committee to review and recover all illegally occcupied or underdeveloped plots at the layout so they could be reallocated to investors willing and capable to develop them.

He also urged the house to advise Gov. Emeka Ihedioha to seek private sector involvement to construct the roads leading to the estate with toll gates to help speed up the industrialisation of the area.

Supporting the motion, Mrs Ngozi Obiefule (Isu AA), said it was disheartening that a majority of the allocations had remained undeveloped 35 years after.

Also, Mr Sam Anukam (Owerri Municipal PDP), however, suggested that the matter be referred to the House Committee on Lands.

Following voice votes in favour of the motion, the Speaker of the House, Mr Chiji Collins (Isiala Mbano PDP), ruled that the motion be assigned to the House Committee on Lands for further action.

The committee was directed to report back to the house on December 19.

(Edited by: Sam Oditah)






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JICA trains over 3,000 Nigerians on various programmes in Japan




JICA trains over 3,000 Nigerians on various programmes in Japan


Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) has so far trained over 3,000 Nigerians on socio-economic development programmes in various sectors in Japan,  an official says.


Mr Sasaki Taigo, the Senior Representative of the agency, disclosed this at the end of a three-day workshop on Improved Rice Parboiling Technology and Awareness Creation on Paddy Grading Standard and Grading Manuals in Abuja.

Taigo said that the training was to support Nigerians to acquire more experience and knowledge to  promote development in the country.

He added also that the purpose of the programmes was to develop potential contributors to the next face of Africa’s industrialisation.

JICA is committed to support the government of Nigeria as well as Africa to promote development in various sectors and to ensure that such programmes are put into operation.

JICA implements Knowledge Co-Creation Programme (KCCP) training in Japan, whereby government officials both in Nigeria and Africa participate in such short to long-term trainings.

The aim of the training is to equip the participants on the country`s knowledge and experiences to enhance the nation`s capacity building and development.

So far, over 3,000 officials from Nigeria have participated in the training programmes. The agency trains about 100 Nigerians every year on various activities and programmes in Japan.

The participants were selected from various organisations across the country,’’ he said.

Taigo said that the objective of the training was to integrate Nigerians and Africans with effective skills and expertise in various fields of endeavour.

He said that JICA was an incorporate administrative agency in charge of administering Japan`s Official Development Assistance (ODA).

According to him, JICA is one of the largest bilateral aid agencies supporting socio-economic development in developing countries in Africa.

Since the agency`s establishment in 1974, JICA has supported the resolution of issues in developing countries through flexible combinations of various types of assistance,’’ he said.

Taigo, however, advised Nigerians who had participated in the training to ensure that they disseminated every information and knowledge acquired from the Japan`s experts to other people.

Edited by: Chukwudi Ekezie

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31 sentenced to 6 months imprisonment each for violating Oyo environmental law



An Ibadan Magistrates’ Court, on Wednesday, sentenced 31 persons to six months imprisonment each for violating the Oyo State environmental law.

A statement issued in Ibadan by the state Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Mr Kehinde Ayoola, said that the violators were, however, given options of N12,500 bail each by the Magistrate, Mrs Patricia Adetuyibi.

He said that 21 of the offenders fulfilled their bail conditions, while 10 others, who failed to meet the conditions, were slammed with community services.

Ayoola said that the environmental law violators were arrested during the monitoring of the environmental sanitation exercise by government officials, led by Gov. Seyi Makinde, at Ojoo interchange.

Ayoola said that the violators were arrested by officers of the ministry at different locations for indiscriminate dumping of refuse at unauthorised places within Ibadan metropolis.

Thereafter, they were arraigned before a Magistrate, Mrs Patricia Adetuyibi, for contravening the Environmental Law of Oyo State.

The magistrate ruled that the offenders be imprisoned for six months or pay a fine of N12,500 each.

Twenty-one of the offenders fulfilled their bail terms, while 10 others, who failed to meet the terms, were slammed with community services,’’ the commissioner said.

He said that the arraignment was a further proof of government’s determination to reduce the menace of unlawful disposal of refuse to its barest minimum.

When we said we would fight this menace to a stop and put saboteurs to a halt, we meant business.

This is why the state government, under the leadership of Gov. Seyi Makinde deployed its whole apparatus to enforce the law on environmental sanitation in the state.

The governor is so passionate about the cleanliness of the environment; this is why our officers will not hesitate to clampdown on all violators of environmental laws,” he said.

The commissioner urged members of the public to desist from unlawful disposal of refuse, as government had deployed its officers in strategic places to apprehend offenders.

In a related development, a middle-aged man, identified as Mutiu Odeniran, who was caught offloading his van full of refuse by the roadside, was fined N42,500 for violating the environmental laws of the state.

Odeniran, who was apprehended at the Molete axis of the state capital by the Environmental Health Officers on Wednesday last week, was arraigned before Magistrate Adetuyibi.

Edited by: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo and
Related‘Wale Sadeeq



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Over 279 erosion sites in Abia receiving attention – NEWMAP



Izuchukwu Onwughara, the Abia Coordinator, Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), said on Wednesday that over 279 erosion sites in the state were currently receiving attention.

Onwughara made the disclosure in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Aba. He spoke against the backdrop of a litany of complaints by erosion-ravaged communities that the agency received reports of their plight but declined to act.

He said that contrary to the complaints, the agency was always at work but had to follow operational procedures.

He explained that the process of initiating projects, which determined where priorities were placed, gave the wrong impression that NEWMAP was doing nothing regarding people’s complaints.

Onwughara said: “The process through which we operate determines how fast we react or respond.

“Before these reports you mentioned, from Ogbor Hill in Aba to Ebem Ohafia to Isuikwuato and so on, as a government agency, we have done a detailed study to map out those sites in Abia for intervention.

“To be very conservative, there are about 279 identified sites and we’ve seen those sites and a good number of them has received attention up to certain levels but what the people did not know is that such works are ongoing.

“They judge us to be intervening only when they see equipment coming to sites.

“Isuikwuato, Ogudu-Asa, Uturu and those ones on the road between Akara and the Abia State University, Uturu, the design we’ve made has been approved by the World Bank.

“Any moment from now, we shall be placing adverts to engage contractors that will execute the work. So, people may not know but we are busy,’’ he said.

Onwughara said that erosion sites at Ogudu Asaa, Igbere, Ebem Ohafia, Uduma Awoke, Elu Ohafia, and the one between Abiriba and Ohafia, were receiving attention under what he called the “Ohafia complex”.

According to him, the agency gets reports, verifies and then present them to the governor who chooses 10 sites needing urgent attention each year and then instructs the agency to act.

“It is after the governor had made choices that the agency engages experts and work on the site begins.

“The preparation of detailed designs that meet world standard and the transparent process of engaging contractors result in delays we would have loved to avoid.

“So, when we are aware and prioritise, we do our work gradually. We are not a sudden intervention agency.

“We do not run to site the moment any community cries. When communities don’t see us, it doesn’t mean we’re idle,’’ Onwughara said.

He said that the agency was receiving funding from the World Bank and not the Ecological Fund.

NEWMAP is a World Bank-assisted initiative, collaborating with the Federal Government to address gully erosion in the South-East and land degradation in the North.

(Edited by: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Sam Oditah)





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