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Flood: SEMA begins awareness campaign in Enugu communities

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The Enugu State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) on Monday embarked on its routine flood emergency awareness to rural communities across the state.

Executive Secretary of the agency Nkechi Eneh said that the awareness campaign became necessary following the 2019 annual flood outlook released by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NHISA).

Eneh, who was addressing traditional rulers, town union executive members and other stakeholders in Enugu East Local Government Area, said that the area was marked as a probable flood risk area.

“The NHISA in its 2019 annual flood outlook mapped this local government area as one of the probable risk areas in the state.

“This campaign is, therefore, aimed at enlightening the communities that will be mostly affected by flood on the dangers of flood disasters and also provide them with some risk reduction measures,” she said.

The executive secretary said that emergency and disaster were on the increase, adding that the state had witnessed its fair share.

She said that the safety of the residents was top priority to the state government.

“We have come to alert you on the urgent need to avoid socioeconomic activities along flood plains and to relocate to safer grounds where possible,” she said.

Eneh appealed to the participants to seek out and contribute measures that could be deployed to avert future occurrences of flood devastation in order to enhance the resilience of the rural communities.

The Zonal Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr Fred Anusim, commended SEMA for being proactive in the issues of emergency management in the state.

Anusim said that NEMA was partnering with its state counterpart to sensitise rural communities to the 2019 flood outlook.

He said that it was their responsibility to stir up the consciousness of the communities to be resilient when disaster occured.

He said that communities in the local government area would witness 224 days of downpour between April 12 and Nov. 24, 2019.

Anusim said that the amount of the rainfall would be 1,741mm, adding that it would favour agricultural yields.

He, however, said that most agricultural fields would be flooded and advised farmers in the area to ensure that they harvested their farm produce early.

He said that incidences of pest infestation in the farms would be rampant hence such should be reported to SEMA and agricultural extension workers whenever it occurred.

He said that the heat waves that would follow the season would cause heat strokes and measles while the temperature would encourage the breeding of mosquitoes leading to incidences of malaria.

Anusim urged residents of the area to take proactive measures that could reduce the impact of the flood when it occurred.

Earlier, the Chairman of the council, Chief Alex Okezie, appealed to participants to take seriously the sensitisation campaign as that would determine their response when the flood occurred.

Okezie said that the participants would further cascade the lessons that would be learnt from the programme to the grassroots.

Environment

FG to push for sustainable awareness campaign to  protect environment – Parm Sec

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The Federal Ministry for Environment on Tuesday said it would promote policies for nationwide sustainable awareness campaign on the importance of environmental protection.

Mrs Ibikun Odusote, Permanent Secretary of the ministry, made this known in Kaduna at the opening of the 13th meeting of the National Council for Environment (NCE).

The meeting has as its theme, Promoting Environmental Advocacy for Sustainable Development: A Panacea for Achieving the Next Level Agenda.

According to her, the council would come up with policies that would create awareness on the consequences of neglecting the environment on the society.

She called for research and innovations to enhance sustainability of nature and securing quality environment conducive for good health and wellbeing of fauna and flora.

“Therefore, the Ministry has sought to proffer solutions to challenges on environment in line with the current administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERPG)”, she said.

Earlier, Ibrahim Hussain, Commissioner, Kaduna State Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, said advocacy is a strong tool for promoting sustainable environmental protection practices.

“Many people in urban and rural areas may not be aware or are negligent of their environmental responsibilities.

“Wilful destruction of forests, poaching, dumping of refuse in drainages, illegal mining, buildings within areas liable to flooding are common place in our communities”, he noted.

He however said through comprehensive advocacy programmes, “I strongly believe that we can educate, sensitize, mobilize and convince people to be aware and responsive to their environment which will make enforcement and compliance easier.”

In a remark, Bolatito Bisesan, Director, Planning Research and Statistics, Federal Ministry of Environment, called on participants to generate a roadmap for reversing adversities in the sector and build a buffer to wedge the rapidly degrading areas.

Edited by Saidu Adamu/Maharazu Ahmed

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Leaking Pipeline: LASEMA, NNPC apply chemicals to minimise explosion risk

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The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) Response Team said it had taken measures to minimise the risk of explosion from a leaking pipeline at Baruwa area, Jakande, Ipaja, Lagos.

The Director-General of LASEMA, Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, made this known in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos on Tuesday.

According to him, the team discovered that petrol was leaking from the pipeline at Baruwa area, Jakande in Ipaja.

He explained that further information gathered at the scene revealed that the cause of the leakage was due to improper sealing of the pipeline.

“We were also informed that the pipeline had been damaged before now.

“Safety measures have been taken by our response team and officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by blanketing the region of leakage with chemicals to avoid explosion.

“No casualty was recorded. The LASEMA response team, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and Lagos State Neighbourhood Agency (LNSC) are on ground to ensure the safety of people and their property, ’’ Oke-Osanyintolu said.

He added that the Maintenance Team of NNPC had done the proper sealing off of the affected parts of the pipeline.

He said that while the operation would last, the use of fire had been prohibited in the area.

Edited by Moses Solanke/Adeleye Ajayi

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World Toilet Day: Minister urges governments to provide eco-friendly sanitary facilities

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Facility

Abuja, Nov. 19, 2019 Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, the Minister of State, Ministry of Environment has advised stakeholders and government at all levels to ensure Nigerians have access to eco-friendly sanitary facilities.

Ikeazor, who gave the advice during the celebration of World Toilet Day on Tuesday in Abuja, said that eco-friendly sanitary facility would help in addressing open defecation and other sanitation related matters.

The theme for the 2019 World Toilet Day is: “Toilet for All’’, which focuses on leaving no one behind as the world strives to achieve universal access to sanitation.

“I am challenging all the stakeholders on environment, particularly government at all levels not only to do the talking but to take practical action as agent of change to ensure everyone has access to eco-friendly sanitary facilities.

“One of the major consequences of poor excreta disposal is the high rate of diarrhea disease which is the second cause of high morbidity and mortality among children under the age of five,’’ she said.

She said that the persistent re-occurrence of annual incidences of cholera outbreak in some states and the occurrence and re-occurrence of other excreta related diseases were caused by inadequate toilet facilities.

“This can be prevented through safe excreta disposal by every individual,’’ she added.

The minister said that this year’s commemoration “leaving no one behind’’, draws the attention to the fact that billions of people that do not have access to toilets should be carried along.

According to her, the Federal Government is committed to addressing the sanitation challenges including ending open defecation in the country and ensure proper management of excreta.

Ikeazor said that the 12th National Council on Environment (NCE) held in Akure, Ondo state in 2018 approved and directed the ministry to develop a National Policy for the declaration of National Emergency on open defecation.

She said that the ministry through the Environmental Health Officers Registration Council (EHORECON) had promoted and strengthened the capacity of environmental health and sanitation manpower training institutions.

Alhaji Idi Farouk, the Country Director, Foundation for Sanitation Improvement (FSI) in his goodwill message said the event was a crucial one to the foundation.

Forouk said that the foundation was conceived at the 2015 world toilet day organised by Green World Matters Ltd.

He said that it was realised at the programme that poor sanitation was responsible for stunted growth in children and the death of children under the age of five years, cholera, typhoid, polio among others.

According to him, it was decided that the FSI be registered as non-profitable organisation and also as a social service to concentrate solely on issue bordering on sound sanitation practices and enhance public health.

Forouk said that the foundation had resolved that in 2019 it would develop public toilets, establish women and youths cooperatives and train them in Community Led Total Sanitation Techniques (CLTS).

“We will allow them to run the toilets as their own businesses while engaging them to provide and supervise sanitation activities in their communities.

“We propose to build modern toilets in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and at the headquarters of the six area councils.

“ECOSAN toilet will be provided in rural communities, especially in areas with access to water challenges.”

Mr Damian Mgbaramuko, the President, Environmental Health Officers Association of Nigeria (EHOAN), FCT said the state of environmental sanitation in the country generally should be a source of concern to all Nigerians.

Mgbaramuko appealed to the ministry and other relevant stakeholders that apart from creating awareness on the ills of open defecation, toilets should be provided within places and areas of high human traffic.

He said that toilets should be provided in areas such as bus tops, schools, motor parks, markets, event centres, camps, expressways among others across the country.

Mr Charles Ikeah, the Director, Pollution Control and Environmental Health Department of the ministry said that institutions such as education and health were fundamental building block in the fight against national poverty and preventable diseases.

According to Ikeah, Nigeria is yet to achieve such in terms of ensuring people have access to basic sanitation.

Edited by Kabir Muhammad/Grace Yussuf

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World Toilet Day: many Plateau residents practice open defecation –NGO

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A Jos-based NGO, Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN) says many Plateau residents indulge in Open Defecation (ODF).

NEWSAN Project Officer, Mr Jephtha Daleng said this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on the occasion of the 2019 World Toilet Day celebration tagged: “Leave No One Behind’’on Tuesday in Jos.

NAN reports that the United Nations had in 2013 set aside every Nov. 19, as World Toilet Day.

According Daleng, out of 30 plateau residents, 16 of them indulge in open defecation and described the situation as alarming.

“The rate of open defecation in the country is very alarming. Today, Nigeria is first in the practice of open defecation, with India already moving out.

“For us on the Plateau, the situation is not any better, because we are second in the country with high level of open defecation.

“As I speak, many Plateau residents practice open defecation. In every 30 Plateau residents, 16 defecate in the open,’’ he said.

Daleng also said that many households in the state don’t have toilet facilities.

He explained that lack of toilet facility in households’ forces residents to defecate in the open, adding that the spate of deaths particularly among children in the state was due to various water and air borne diseases.

He also decried the lack of sanitation facilities in public places in the state, a situation he said also compel people to defecate in the open.

“As I speak to you, many households in Plateau don’t have toilet facility. I am not talking of pit latrines that are not covered, but a safely managed toilet.

“Even in public places, there are no sanitation facilities provided. For instance, in the state secretariat and Specialist Hospital, people defecate in the open.

“This is why we have increased rate of deaths among children under-five, as a result of communicable diseases easily contracted because of bad hygiene practices,’’ he added.

Daleng called on the state government to be proactive in improving sanitation and hygiene in the state, particularly in providing sanitation facilities in public places.

He also advised the state government to key into the national campaign on the use of toilets, urging it to channel resources to promoting sanitation and hygiene.

“Poor sanitation and hygiene practices don’t only affect the health of citizens, but their social life and the economy of the state.

“So, government must take deliberate steps towards addressing the worrsome situation,” he advised.

Daleng also advised residents of the state to improve on their personal hygiene practices and desist from open defecation.

Edited by Shittu Obassa/Ese E. Ekama

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World Toilet Day: Osinbajo unveils clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign

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World Toilet Day: Osinbajo unveils clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign

Defecation

Abuja, Nov. 19, 2019 President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Abuja inaugurated the “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign”, as part of measures to end open defecation in the country.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the launch, which coincided with the World Toilet Day, is to kick-start strategies that will move Nigeria from its present position of number one in Africa and second in the world in open defecation.

Buhari, who was represented by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo reiterated Federal Government’s commitment to providing conducive environment for the citizenry to end open defecation.

“World Bank report on the economic impact of poor sanitation due to use of unsanitary or shared toilets and open defecation, estimates that Nigeria loses N455billion annually with open defecation accounting for a third of this amount.

“These costs include healthcare, loss of productivity, premature deaths, poor educational outcomes, among others,” he said.

Buhari said that some of the dire costs of open defecation were those that could not be quantified in monetary terms such as the social costs, loss of dignity, lack of privacy and increased vulnerability to physical attacks and violence, especially for women and girls.

He said that the Target 6.2 of the Sustainable Development Goal for Water and Sanitation “seeks to achieve by 2030, access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation.”

“This is paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations,” he said.

The president noted that meeting the target was expected to contribute significantly to the achievement of other goals.

He said that this would specifically contribute to Nigeria’s achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 3 to ensure healthy lives and promote the well-being of the population.

He said that between 2016 and 2019, only 14 out of the 774 local government areas of the country had been declared Open Defecation Free with the support of other international development partners.

“This achievement is a far cry from our target of making Nigeria open-defecation-free by 2025 according to the national roadmap.

“The Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign is part of our effort to fast track our progress and ensure we achieve our goal,”he said.

He noted that as the United Nations marks World Toilet Day, it was an auspicious day to officially roll out the ‘Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet’ campaign.

He described the Clean Nigeria campaign as a national transformative initiative to mobilise the entire nation toward imbibing the culture of safe and sustainable sanitation practices toward the 2025 target date.

“This campaign is also being backed by a Presidential Executive Order which will give effect to the implementation of the Clean Nigeria campaign.

“The Federal Government recognises the fact that action to end open defecation in Nigeria will require the contribution and commitment of everyone: government at all levels, civil society, private sector, development partners, traditional and religious leaders, and the entire populace, ”he said.

Buhari said households must be mobilised to provide their own sanitation facilities.

“Government institutions and the private sector should provide sanitation facilities in public places such as schools, healthcare centres, parks and markets,” he stressed.

He said that this would ensure total coverage and sustainable access for the populace.

“Although, we all know that the primary responsibility for provision of water, sanitation and hygiene services lies with the states and local government areas, the Federal Government remains committed to supporting the states initiatives aimed at improving access to these services for the populace” he said.

He stressed that states and the Federal Capital Territory should consider common sense policy measures in ensuring that construction sites were equipped with toilet facilities.

He added that property development control regulators could also make it mandatory for buildings to include external toilet facilities for staff such as security guards.

“These and other such measures will reduce the incidence of public defecation.

“We all must redouble our efforts and work together in order to meet the nation’s Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene needs.

“As a nation, we simply cannot afford the huge costs including fatalities caused by preventable water and sanitation related diseases as a result of inadequate WASH services,” he said.

He said that in contributing to the government’s efforts, citizens must take action to avoid open defecation.

Mr Suleiman Adamu, the Minister of Water Resources, noted that over the years Nigeria had maintained the first position among countries practicing open defecation and second in the world.

Adamu said that an estimated 47 million Nigerians practice open defecation because of lack of facilities and space to use for defecation.

He said that India was rated the first in the world in open defecation, adding that in the country’s bid to rid it of such menace, India had taken over 500million people off open defecation.

“In view of the reality that Nigeria may soon take over India, there is need to embark on this campaign to mobilise high level political support, resources and critical stakeholders toward building a new culture of safe sustainable sanitation.

“This is the only way to achieve the target of making Nigeria open defection free by 2025, ” he said.

The minister, however, assured that the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari administration was making a deliberate attempt to end open defecation in the country.

Gov. Kayode Fayemi, the Chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum, who was represented by Mr Solomon Lalong, Governor of Plateau, said that the states would collaborate with the Federal Government to commit funds and engage personnel to tackle open defecation in the country

He said that the state governors remained committed to ending open defecation, adding that they would do their best to ensure that cleaningness was replicated across the country.

JAN/

Edited by Saidu Adamu/Grace Yussuf

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NESREA says deforestation, bush burning, lead causes of climate change

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The National Environmental Standard and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA) has attributed human activities such as deforestation, bush burning, and increase in green house gases as major causes of climate change.

The Enugu State Coordinator of the agency, Mr Pele Egbegari, stated this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Enugu on Tuesday.

Egbegari said that the issue of climate change had really affected the peace of the country.

He said the issue of climate change had caused migration with people moving from their country, state or region of origin to distant places in search of greener pasture.

“When the plants are deforested, there will be no longer sinking for carbon dioxide. This causes an increase in the green house gases in the atmosphere.

“They end up absorbing heat from the sun thereby making it unbearable for people.

“Human activities actually affect the increase in green house gases leading to global warming,” he said.

Egbegari said that some of the effects of desertification included flooding; adding that many lives and valuable property had been lost to flood.

“There is an increase in the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) due to flooding and other violence and people are made to move outside their ancestral homes.

“The climate change has come to be, we cannot do anything to stop it completely but we can take action to either mitigate it or adapt to it.

“The answer to it is reforestation. Let us stop deforesting our plants, instead we should plant more,” Egbegari said.

He advised people to always clean up their gutters, avoid throwing refuse into the drains in order to ensure free flow of rain water and avert flooding.

The coordinator said that NESREA had a vision to ensure a cleaner and healthier environment for all Nigerians, adding that Nigerians should support the agency to achieve its vision.

Edited by Emma Nwoye/Maureen Atuonwu

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