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Experts advocate study of climate change in secondary schools




Some experts have advocated for the promotion of study of geography at the secondary school level for Nigerians to have knowledge about climate change early.

The experts made the call in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan on Thursday.

Mr Tolu Afolayan, the Director, GIS Konsult, Centre for Agricultural Development and Sustainable Development (CEADESE), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, underscored the need to have adequate knowledge on Geographic Information Science (GIS).

Afolayan said that promoting the knowledge on GIS through the study of geography at the secondary school level would help Nigerians to know how to mitigate effects of climate change early.

“Geography education presents an entry point in secondary schools to fortify youths with information and technology needed to survive present day challenges of climate change as well as fortify and prepare students for sustainable development.

“In the secondary school, GIS is a topic under geography and we are working with the Association of Nigerian Geographers to raise mentors to work with teachers and there is so much progress we are seeing now.

“We have mentors in six regions and all of us have reached out to students,’’ the director said.

According to him, one of the most exciting things is the impact of GIS across the regions as students are now thinking of societal problems and ways of solving them.

Afolayan said that successive governments and curriculum developers had ignored the role of geography in furthering sustainable development among the newer generations, adding that they had also relegated its relevance.

“The situation is now so bad that some schools opt to teach other subjects that are thought to be in demand for successful careers in place of geography.

“And students are disenfranchised because teachers seem to merely copy out the basic facts to them which they memorise and regurgitate just to pass school examinations,’’ Afolayan said.

According to him, GIS Konsult has embarked on innovative ways to change the narrative such as its collaboration with the University of Ibadan to promote sustainable development.

Afolayan added that it also partnered with Association of Nigerian Geographers, teachers of geography in secondary schools and state ministry of education on a project called “GEOHACKTHON’’.

According to him, the project is an innovative technology road map that will encourage the development of solutions required in various fields through geography.

Dr John Oyedepo, also of CEADESE said that there had been series of innovation and cutting edge technology in farming through the use of GIS such as precision farming and supplemental irrigation farming.

“There are ways to helping the farmers and one of the things we are doing is Climate Information System by which we will be able to forecast when the rain will stabilise.

“And then we can tell the farmers the time to plant and when there is going to be drought or excessive rainfall at a particular time,’’ Oyedepo said.

According to him, all of these are hinged on information system which is encapsulated by Geographic Information System.

“Another thing that we do apart from helping farmers to forecast is that from meteorological satellite, we are able to download information every 15 minutes and we can predict through the information the weather situation,’’ he said.

Oyedepo said that the use of precision farming technique would salvage farmers from impending losses due to the effect of climate change and ensure food sufficiency for the country.



Lagos woos residents to public water supply, warns against unsafe water



The Lagos Water Corporation (LWC)
has warned residents to desist from drinking contaminated groundwater or patronising the informal sector that were not safe.

LWC Group Managing Director, Mr Muminu Badmus, in a statement, urged residents to connect to potable water supply from the Corporation a

He noted that drinking polluted groundwater or contaminated water could cause many types of diseases, which include Cholera, diarrhoea and other serious water borne diseases.

“The public water supply is fit for human consumption, it is safe, as it conforms to World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Standard, while groundwater and other informal sector are unsafe and not fit for consumption.

“The Water Quality Monitoring team of the Lagos water corporation is presently conducting a regular water quality routine check (Sampling & in-situ Analysis) on water delivered to their customers.

“The ongoing exercise is to ascertain the quality of water supplied to their homes to ensure consumption of potable water always,” Badmus said.

He, however, cautioned Lagosians on the proliferation of borehole in the state which, he said, constituted serious health and environmental hazard to the residents of the state.

Badmus appealed to Lagosians to migrate back to the public water supply for guaranteed and safe service delivery.

According to him, the persistent rainfall which goes into the sewage, finds its way to the groundwater and thereby contaminating the groundwater.

Badmus also stated that groundwater pollution was where the pit latrine in the background was polluting the shallow well in the foreground with pathogens and nitrate.

He said that shallow pollution was also caused by on-site sanitation systems, landfills, effluent from waste water treatment plants, leaking sewers, petrol filling, amongst others.

Badmus said the effluent which were released to the ground making their way down into groundwater resources and rendering it unsafe for human consumption. .

Edited by Wale Ojetimi

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Use the toilet campaign will scale up ODF campaign in States, LGs -Minister




Abuja, Nov. 18, 2019The National Launch of the Clean Nigeria: Use the toilet Campaign will scale up the Open Defecation Free campaign in States and Local Governments.

Adamu said this at a Pre- Launch Media Briefing on the National Launch of The Clean Nigeria Campaign in Abuja on Monday.

The campaign is to be held on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at the Eagle Square.

Adamu said the launch would coincide with the United Nations designated World Toilet Day with the theme “ Leaving No One Behind’’ which is the central promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

According to the Minister, a toilet is not just a toilet; it is a lifesaver, dignity protector and opportunity maker. It is, therefore, imperative that we ensure clean toilets for all.

He said the `This will require mobilising households to provide their sanitation facilities, while relevant government institutions are to provide their sanitation facilities, in public places such as schools and health care facilities.

Adamu said the private sector was key to improving access to WASH facilities in public places such as parks and markets, leveraging on the business opportunities therein.

“ In order to realise total coverage and sustainable access to sanitation and hygiene for the populace, every Nigerian should see himself or herself as an ambassador and a change agent.

‘`The Federal Government recognised the support of our development partners and other stakeholders in this regard.

“The Federal Government is committed to partnership and collaboration to ensure we achieve the goal of an open defecation free country by 2025 leaving no one behind and with clean toilets for all.’’

Zaid Jurji, UNCIEF Chief of WASH, said the same commitment seen at the federal level must also be seen at the state level for the campaign to have great impact.

According to him, the state must take ownership and replicate what is being done at the federal level towards ending open defecation; only Nigerians can build Nigeria; the role of development partners is to provide support.

Jurji said the private sector had the resources, adding that it was an opportunity for the sector to help the country, help their families and make profit by keying into the WASH campaign.

Also, the Country Director, WaterAid, Dr Chichi Okoye, said a lot could be done with human waste such as biogas and organic manure, as seen in developed countries.

“We are looking for a day when we can sell our “shit’’ because there is a lot of money to be made in sanitation.’’

Okoye said the campaign was about what every Nigerian could do at their various levels by incorporating it into their lifestyle.

“We need to show the example to the rest of the world as the giants of Africa that we can do it and we will do it.’’

The Director General, National Orientation Agency, Dr Garba Abari, said the agency was willingly to partner with the ministry on everything about WASH.

Abari , represented by Mrs Theresa Maduekwe, Deputy Director Public Enlightenment, Mass Mobilisation, said Nigeria must not take the sit India left, but must do everything to leave being number one in open defecation.

‘’We are available to mobilise and reoriented our people to use the toilet they have built because they will be encouraged to build toilets and latrines for themselves.

“We will streamline this campaign in our activities because the agency is everywhere, we can reach out to all Nigerians and we will achieve this laudable project.’’

Dr Nicholas Igwe, Coordinator, Organised Private Sector (OPS-WASH), said the private sector had a lot to contribute if the issue of water and sanitation is to be resolved.

Igwe, who is also the Director General, Zenith Water Project, said the infrastructural and financial gap was huge and development partners and government could not breach the gap alone, hence, the need for private sector to step in.

According to him OPS is not just to help stop open defecation but it is an avenue to create jobs and wealth in the value chain.

Comedian, Helen Paul and Harpic Ambassador, said Reckitt Benckiser, makers of Harpic in West Africa, had been preaching against open defecation, especially in schools.

Paul said in the past four years, students were been sensitised to stop ‘’shot put’’ a practice common in boarding schools.

“We are working with the ministry to ensure we create awareness by preaching against open defecation and ensuring it is stopped.

“As an entertainer, I will use all my platforms to preach against open defecation,”she said.

Nigeria News Agency reports that highlights of the pre-event included a road show from Berger round-about and Garki ultra-modern market to the Eagle Square.

Edited /Sadiya Hamza

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World Toilet Day: Aliyu advocates private sector initiatives





Abuja, Nov. 18, 2019 The FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, has called for private sector initiatives to meet the 2025 Goal of ensuring that Nigeria becomes Open Defecation Free (ODF).

Aliyu made the call in a statement issued by her Special Assistant on Media, Mr Austine Elemue, on Monday in Abuja on the occasion of the United Nations World Toilet Day (WTD).

She stressed the need for greater commitment especially at a time when President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had flagged off the Clean Nigeria Campaign with Use the Toilet Initiative.

She decried the rate of Nigerians with inadequate or total lack of access to toilets, revealing that the FCT had a fair share of the over 47 million people lacking access to sanitation and hygiene in the country.

“Nigeria currently has over 47 million people with inadequate or total lack of access to toilets and another troubling 57 million lacking access to potable water.

“The FCT has its fair share of these disturbing figures.

“Therefore, the 2019 World Toilet Day is coming at a time that the Federal Government is revving up the political will to combat this scourge through a number of tools and instruments, programmes and initiatives.

” Which include partnership with the organised private sector in other to reverse the scourge and build a healthier Nigerian population.

“It saddens my heart to note that currently 102, 000 children die annually due to diseases related to sanitation. We must join hands to reverse this ugly trend,” she said.

The minister called on traditional rulers and all residents of the territory to see themselves as ambassadors and embark on the crusade to educate others on the need to desist from actions such as open defecation and indiscriminate dumping of refuse.

She affirmed that if the respective authorities fail to resolve the menace, the target to end open defecation in the nation’s capital city by 2025 may be unrealistic.

Aliyu vowed that henceforth, the FCT Administration would work closely with the six area councils and other agencies of government to scale-up commitment to implement the National WASH Action Plan to end open defecation across the territory.

NAN reports that the UN declared Nov. 19, as World Toilet Day (WTD), just as the Federal Government had a year ago declared a state of emergency in the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector.

edited by Emmanuel Nwoye/Sadiya Hamza

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Benue records 101 fire outbreaks in 11 months-Fire service



The Benue Fire Service on Monday said that the state recorded a total of 101 fire outbreaks between January and November 2019.

The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Service, Mr Doo Shave, told Nigeria News Agency in Makurdi that 90 per cent of the outbreaks was caused by carelessness.

He appealed to the masses to take fire safety business seriously and always install fire safety gadgets as it was better to prevent fire outbreak than control the inferno.

“The public should take fire safety seriously. You see it is better to prevent fire than to control it.

“We have recorded, from January to date, 101 fire outbreaks across the state, including the one of today.

“These outbreaks are caused by carelessness; carelessness includes carrying out certain acts or things that can be avoided or controlled,’’ he added.

According to him, people often ignore things such as installation of fire safety gadgets, smoke detectors, fire alarms, automatic fire extinguishers etc.

“Each house should have a functional fire extinguisher and all households’ members should know how to use it,” he explained.

Mr Shave further disclosed that the recent fire outbreak at Wadata Market was also caused by carelessness as the fire started at the side where chickens were usually slaughtered.

He further appealed to the masses to always ensure that they switched off electrical appliances before leaving the house.

The PRO also hinted that the State Fire Service was well equipped to handle fire outbreaks as it currently had five functional fire fighting trucks, two water tankers across six stations in the state.

He said the quick intervention of the service during fire outbreak was dependent on how fast the office was notified.

“People should get our emergency numbers and call us during fire outbreak. It is safer to call us than drive all the way to the office.

“Our quick response to fire outbreak issue is dependent on how fast the office is notified”.

On the inferno that claimed the life of Benue Acting Permanent Secretary, Mr Seker Akaa, his wife and two children Mr Shave said the cause of the fire outbreak still remained unknown.

He said the Service was still investigating the incident to ascertain its cause.

Edited by Donald Ugwu

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Taraba Water Agency enumerates 66,000 households for effective service delivery



The Taraba State Water Supply Agency  on Monday commenced the enumeration of over 66,000 households across five local government areas in the state to build customer data base for effective and efficient service delivery.

The General Manager of the agency, Mr Musa Siam, disclosed this in his office in Jalingo.

Siam said that over 90 enumerators were engaged in the deployment for the first phase of the exercise that covered Jalingo, Wukari, Ibi, Takum and Gembu towns.

He said the exercise was aimed at identifying, re-validating and updating the present utility customer database of the agency for effective water supply delivery and for future planning.

He said that as a self sustaining agency that would soon start surviving on the revenue it generates, a strong database of existing and prospective customers was very important for effective operations.

The general manager said that due to security concerns, enumerators were drawn from the communities to avoid possible apprehension and fear of intrusion that could possibly put the lives of the people at risk.

He called on the people to cooperate with the enumerators and provide necessary information as the data that would be obtained from the field would help the agency to serve the people better.

He said this would also help in addressing other critical issues of sanitation and hygiene in the state.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the exercise is supported by USAID Effective Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Services (E-WASH) programme and will last from Nov. 17 to Dec. 31, 2019.

Edited by Cecilia Odey and Abdullahi Yusuf

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LASEPA seals 8 worship centres over environment pollution



The Lagos State Government on Sunday closed down eight worship centres across the state for contravening environmental pollution regulations.

Dr Dolapo Fasawe, General Manager, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), who led the exercise, said that the facilities were closed down to save the people from health crisis that might arise from the activities of the centres.

The LASEPA boss said that there would be no hiding place for any religious organisation which failed to operate within the ambit of the law, regardless of their faith.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the sealed facilities are located at 68, Old Ota Road, Orile Agege; 4, Ademola Oshinowo Street, Off Love Street, Ketu; 1 Dele Amuda Street, Lekki.

Others are 17, Ajileye Street, Ilaje Bariga; 39, Kusenla Road, Elegushi and Ajayi Bembe Street Abule Oja, Yaba, among others.

Fasawe said that mutual respect of views, culture and religion, which the annual tolerance day celebration symbolised, must be adhered to by all residents to foster peace.

She said that religious organisations were supposed to demonstrate good conduct, tolerance, brotherliness and good neighbourliness.

The general manager, however, regretted that the conduct of some overzealous churches and mosques had caused frictions in the society.

She assured residents of the state that LASEPA would not rest on its oars in bequeathing a good ambience to all inhabitants.

“ Those recalcitrant organisations or worship centres, known to be disturbing the peace of Lagos residents, will face the full wrath of the law.

“In as much as the state government is positively disposed to the peaceful conduct of religion of choice by its citizens, it does not condone infringements on the rights of other residents in the name of religious activities.

“The agency is inundated with petitions and outcry from residents over the insensitivity and intolerance of some religious outlets in different parts of the state.

“LASEPA regrettably notes that several warnings issued to the management of these centres have not yield the result,” Fasawe said.

According to her, the state government recognises the fact that the state thrives on peaceful co-existence among practitioners of the religions.

“But of great concern to the state government is the need for religious activities to be conducted in a manner that worshippers will not infringe on others’ rights,’’ Fasawe said.

She added that the illegal and unauthorised conversion of residential property into religious uses without recourse to the wellbeing of others and the state environment law was bad.

She said that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu was against such inhuman act of social intolerance in the name of worship that could breach the peace in the state.

Fasawe explained that for the sealed facilities to be reopened, the leaders of those organisations must reach an agreement of compliance with the state and also satisfy other necessary conditions as might be prescribed by LASEPA.

Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde/Wale Ojetimi

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