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Friendly environment: Minister urges public-private sector collaboration



The Minister of State for Environment, Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, has called for a strong public-private sector partnership in the crusade for a better environment that guarantees sustainable development.

Ikeazor made the call at a forum organised by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) on Friday in Lagos.

Ikeazor said that the forum was a practical demonstration that the biodiversity conservation community in Nigeria was working hard at ensuring integration of a stakeholder focused engagement in managing the environment.

The minister charged corporate organisations in the country to be eco-friendly in their business drive.

She also urged them to work toward producing products and packaging models that were compliant to nature for a better environment.

“The major outcome of the meeting will contribute to the post-2020 agreement on nature.

“I urge us to look at the opportunities that will ensure all critical stakeholders in biological conservation are involved in the quest for sustainable management and use of Nigeria biological diversity.

“This becomes more pertinent, especially as the period from 2020 to 2030 has been declared a decade for ecosystem restoration.

“The biological diversity is a critical part of such efforts,’’ she said.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that theme of the event is “The Nigeria Businesses for Nature Forum’’.

Also speaking at the event, a member of the House of Representatives, Sam Onuigbo, said that the Climate Change Bill was awaiting presidential assent.

Onuigbo, representing Ikwuano/Umuahia North/South of Abia, said closer collaboration between the executive and legislature in the climate change crusade would foster prompt result-oriented action in the fight against climate change.

The Director-General of NCF, Dr Muhtari Amiun-Kano, said that corporate organisations needed to play a major role in the distortion of the biodiversity.

“If we can get the businesses key into the crusade, a lot will be achieved in the area of compliance to nature and its conservation.

“We in the conservation community want to widen the spectrum by enlisting the support of the corporate world,’’ he said.

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde/Wale Ojetimi


LASG harps on effective management of construction, demolition, disaster waste



Lagos State Government says proper management of Construction, Demolition and Disaster Waste (CDDW) will ensure sustainable environment.

Mr Tunji Bello, the Lagos State Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, said this on Thursday, during a Stakeholders’ Forum on Construction, Demolition and Disaster Waste (CDDW) Management in Lagos State.

The forum, organised by the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), has the theme: ”Creating Value Through Responsible Management of Construction and Demolition Waste in Lagos State.”

Represented by the Managing Director of LAWMA, Dr Muyiwa Gbadegesin, Bello said that proper and effective management of CDDW would ensure safety, liveability and sustainability of human race and the environment.

He said  the management of CDDW had evolved over the years with the introduction of various strategies with treatment options for reuse and recycling of CDDW to guard it from constituting environmental nuisance.

”Now, LAWMA is taking up the challenges to ensure efficient management of CDDW from cradle to grave in the state.

Lagos State is quite aware that the degree or choice of management options deployed to waste is critical to climate change management, mitigation and adaptation and so, Lagos state is implementing this ‘green’ approach to waste management.

”All these efforts are being concerted with due realisation that any omission or error that can be recorded in the adoption of options shall not create new challenges; otherwise, the world eco-balance will be negatively affected.

” Responsible management of construction and demolition waste is quite apt for us in Lagos at this moment that we are stepping up efforts toward solving the challenges of waste management in the state.

”We are here today to officially launch the CDDW programme of LAWMA and ensure that all stakeholders are well engaged along to own the programme,” the commissioner said.

He said that Lagos State had continued to blaze the trail in innovative approaches to effective management of the waste sector, in line with its determination and commitment to ensuring  a cleaner and healthier environment.

According to him, the state has re- energised the solid waste management sector by promoting the concept of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, as a major thrust of waste management in the state.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Managing Director of LAWMA, Dr Muyiwa Gbadegesin, said that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu had laid exemplary effort at ensuring that the state met the highest international standard in Solid Waste Management, across the value chain.

Gbadegesin said that LAWMA was synonymous with Solid Waste Management and had focused on Domestic, Commercial, Industrial and Public waste in time past.

He said that as the population of Lagos increased, more waste was generated and construction work for shelter and infrastructure was also on the increase.

According to him, the rate of construction and demolition activities going on in the state is very alarming and the attendant waste generated from these activities must be properly managed.

”Owing to its significant impact to the natural environment, CDDW needs to be properly managed.

Lagos has limited land, yet we are producing waste at a significant rate due to the high population rate.

”An average of 13,000MT of waste is being generated on daily basis and if this trend continues, all our dumpsites will run out of space in less than five years time.

”Hence, the need to create value from waste through reuse, reduce and recycle, so we can decrease the volume of waste that goes to the dumpsite,” he said.

Gbadegesin said the recent launch of the Blue Box programme by Sanwo-Olu was an attempt to harness opportunities that abound in the waste sector and to promote a healthier environment.

He said the administration was committed to the Zero Waste Initiative, which was a means to consciously engage the populace on environmental issues, through Community Clean-up Campaign, distribution of colour coded thrash bags to encourage sorting at source.

Edited & Vetted By: Chioma Ugboma/Wale Ojetimi

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LASG extends clean-up of Lagos Marina to adjoining streets



  Lagos State Government on Thursday said it was extending its enforcement to areas around MCwen Bridge, down to Muson Centre on Lagos Island.

The Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello, said in a statement on Thursday that the extension became necessary following the successful evacuation of street traders, shanties, illegally parked vehicles and miscreants on outer Marina.

Bello said  the enforcement would extend to the Flag Staff House, Police AIG Zone 2 office road, Onikan to the Race Course Roundabout and stretching to the old State House Marina.

He declared a zero tolerance for street trading, food vendors on roadsides and indiscriminate parking inhibiting the free flow of traffic.

The commissioner also gave operatives of the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI)  marching orders to continually ensure that no street trader was found in the areas.

He said that they should also maintain motorised patrols to clear any spill over of traders and goods.

The commissioner urged owners of all vehicles abandoned or parked indiscriminately on the roadsides to remove them immediately or risk being towed away.

He directed the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) to deploy more street sweepers to all the listed areas to ensure continuous hygiene in the the areas.

Bello added that Lagos State Parks and Garden Agency (LASPARK) on its part, should on a daily basis clear all vegetal nuisances noticed in the listed areas and roads.

He said that LASPARK should also ensure that some of the areas that had lawns converted into clothes hanging lines are cleaned up immediately.

Bello said the task of cleaning up Lagos and restoring the greenery had begun and that there would be no looking back.

He said that after the completion of the clean-up of Marina and its surrounding areas, the next port of call would be Ikoyi and Victoria Island.

Edited & Vetted By: Chioma Ugboma/Wale Ojetimi

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World Soil Day: LASG warns against illegal sand mining



  Lagos State Government has warned those involved in illegal sand mining to desist from the act and protect the soil as a vital resource.

The Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello gave the warning in a statement on Thursday, as the state joined the rest of the world to observe the World Soil Day.

Bello also urged residents to desist from indiscriminate tree cutting.

He said that the government was committed to preventing further soil erosion in the state through identification and recovering of all erosion-prone areas and conserving them for better productive use.

According to him, the theme for the 2019 World Soil Day is to raise awareness on the importance of sustaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being.

He said it was to do so by encouraging all sectors around the world to engage proactively in improving soil health.

Bello said that the theme: ”Stop Soil Erosion, Save Our Future”, was apt at this time, as efforts must be made toward raising the profile of healthy soil and curbing erosion to encourage agricultural development.

He said that with continuous erosion, the fertility of soil would continue to be adversely affected at an alarming rate, threatening global food supplies and safety.

”As government, we are committed to preserving  the soil, its biodiversity, conservation and management through efficient ecosystem functions for an improved crop production and land activities.

”We must continue to communicate information and undertake activities that may reduce soil erosion, as soil represents one of the most important reservoirs of biodiversity and it reflects ecosystem metabolism,” he said.

According to him, soil erosion is very prominent in some parts of the state and it is a potential hazard to means of livelihood, property and life of the citizenry during raining season.

”It is usually caused by rain run-offs, which in most erosion-prone areas is exacerbated by constrains and blockage of waterways and drainages,” the commissioner said.

Edited & Vetted By: Chioma Ugboma/Oluwole Sogunle

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Former MCC foreman recommends solution to Aba flooding



Mr Michael Chukwukere, a former worker with Monier Construction Company (MCC), said the drainage systems built in Aba by the German company in the 1980s had the capacity to check flooding in the city, if properly desilted.

Chukwukere, who was a foreman in MCC when it constructed underground drainage systems in the city, alongside other companies about three decades ago, said this in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Aba on Wednesday.

He said that Abia government was wasting its resources trying to construct new drainage system in the commercial town, instead of “opening up elaborately constructed network of drainage systems built by Germans in Aba in the old Imo state.”

Chukwukere said: “Abia state government actually has plans, but I don’t think those handling constructions in Aba understand the city’s plan and past construction works enough to resolve its drainage challenges.

“I was involved from the beginning to the end of that early construction of roads in Aba and served as a foreman then at MCC when Germans built a network of drainage systems in the heart of Aba and channelled them to the Aba River.

“I have a solution to the flood menace in Aba; I want them to test me with one of the terribly flooded areas and see how with my help we shall fix the flooding problem ravaging the city.

“Then at MCC, I was also monitoring the works of Guffantti Construction Company and some other companies on some roads in Aba and I know the way both companies did their job.

“I know every tunnel, both visible and hidden in Aba and with what MCC and other companies planned and executed, there shouldn’t be flooding in Aba.

“There are tunnels in Aba that some of today’s people do not know.

“And drainage-related work being done in Aba without following the old plans that specified the level storm water should follow to Aba River will not work.

“Regrettably, the state will keep moving in a circle without result,” he said.

Chukwukere said that there were hidden and open tunnels around World Bank Estate, MCC Road, Umuocham Road, Eziukwu Road/Ehi Road, 7 Deck/Umule/Faulks Road, Gulf Course, Station Avenue, Margret Avenue and others to take storm water to the river.

He said he knew where to work on and get the tunnels opened up.

He, however, expressed concern that some residents had built houses on some of the tunnel heads, adding that the buildings must be removed to free storm water movement.

“There are many open collection points and underground tunnels that people do not see.

“Without clearing and fixing these water channels, there is no fresh drainage that you’ll do now that can solve Aba’s drainage problem,” he said.

Chukwukere said he was ready to assist the state government to correct the mistakes that had lately plunged Aba into heavy flooding, leading to the failure of many roads in the city.

He challenged the state government to give him a chance and see if Aba flooding would not become a thing of the past as soon as possible.

He said he had made several efforts to have audience with Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu on the issue without success.

(Edited & Vetted By: Sam Oditah)

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Participatory approach necessary in implementing Great Green Wall programme — Perm Sec



Mrs Ibukun Odusote, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, has stressed the need for participatory approach in the implementation of the programme of the Great Green Wall (GGW) in Nigeria.

Odusote said this during the First Stakeholders Consultative Forum of the National Alliance For the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI) in Nigeria held in Abuja on Wednesday.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the two-day forum is being organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in conjunction with the National Agency for the Great Green Wall.

Odusote, represented by Mr Peter Daniang, Director, HRM, in the ministry, said the forum of the GGWSSI was a platform on which much needed participatory approach to the implementation of the GGW programme was hinged.

“Participatory bottom-to-top approach is now the in-thing for any meaningful and effective implementation of projects and programmes of this nature that will ensure sustainability.

The Permanent Secretary said the main objective of the forum was to further strengthen the processes of identifying more stakeholders at the grassroots necessary for the effective implementation of the GGWSSI in Nigeria.

“Specifically, the forum will seek to ensure coherent and responsive action of the GGWSSI, engage the stakeholders in the implementation process, coordinate and synergise with relevant ministries, national authorities, state institutions within the GGW intervention areas.

“(It will) develop strategies and plans for achieving the GGWSSI laudable goals and develop and share communication and useful information about the GGWSSI.”

Odusote said she believed the positive outcomes of the deliberations and interactions would give incisive direction to the implementation process of the GGW programme in Nigeria.

Dr Bukar Hassan, Director-General, National Agency for the Great Green Wall, said Implementation of the agency’s programme required the participating of all stakeholders.

Hassan said the stakeholders included government, private sector and individuals such as farmers at the community level.

“We must work together to get it right.

“One way of making sure we work together and get it right is to come together chat between ourselves, share information.

“So when we go back we can have enough knowledge to push our programme forward.

“The key issue in our project is sustainability; what you put down today must be sustained and sustainability is not done by people around here.

“It is done by the people who the job is being done for.

“Therefore, we need to reach them down there and it is a known fact that in our society NGOs and CSOs are the ones who directly work with the community and that is why we brought them here to share our knowledge together.”

He said he was optimistic that the collective interest of participants to combat the problems of the Nigerian dry lands in a participatory manner would provide the push required for successful deliberations.

Mr Chris Magero, Programme Officer, IUCN, said the IUCN was committed to continue to support the countries of the GGW including Nigeria to address the issues that surround land degradation.

Magero said this would be achieved by influencing policies and coming up with actions that would be able to truly achieve an impact within the GGW.

“Over the years we have been addressing the issues of environmental degradation across the Sahel. It has taken many shapes over many years, but to this point we are looking to having impact across the Sahel.

IUCN is working in different continents to address the issues around society that include food, water and security, land degrading and human wellbeing across the society.

“It is indeed our pleasure as IUCN to be able to contribute to this process and we hope that through this process you will be able to find solutions that address the issues that plague the society within auspices of the GGW.”

He said he hoped that by the end of the programme concrete solutions that would enable society to address the issues would be arrived at.

According to him not only addressing these issues but mechanisms that will enable government to work together with civil society and other actors to actively address the issues of land degradation.

Edited & Vetted By: Donald Ugwu

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World Disability Day: Association urges FG to provide toilet facilities



Mr Obinna Ekujereonye, Chairman, Nigeria Association of the Blind, on Wednesday called on the Federal Government and other relevant stakeholders to provide effective accessible toilet facilities for Persons with Disability in the country.

Ekujereonye said this at a Roundtable Meeting on Mainstreaming Disability in Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), interventions, organised by Toilet Pride, an NGO, in Abuja.

He said that the provision and services would effectively improve the lives of people with disability who suffer most from lack of access to toilet facilities.

According to him, it’s been a problem going to toilet because of lack of accessible toilet facilities.

“We don’t have any support and the types of toilet we are using, both public and private toilet, we cannot access the facilities.

“We need the types of toilet that even those on wheel chairs and other persons with disability can easily have access to.

“So we are calling on the government and other relevant stakeholders to provide such facilities and construct more public toilets in the country,’’ he said.

Mr Chukwuma Nnanna, Team Leader, Toilet Pride said that the organisation was using the medium to commemorate World Toilet Day, which was supposed to be celebrated every Dec. 3.

Nnanna said that the theme was tagged: “Promoting the Participation of Persons with Disabilities and their Leadership: Taking Action on the 2030 Development Agenda“.

He said that the aim of the meeting was to create awareness and the need to include persons with disability particularly on Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme

“We are trying to create a platform where we can work effectively on sanitation and to see how we can make WASH facilities more inclusive for persons with disability in Nigeria,’’ he said.

Nnanna said that the organisation was partnering the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and other relevant stakeholders on WASH to ensure that the vision and mandate were achieved.

He added that the organisation was engaging with state governments and international organisation to make sure that persons with disabilities were involve in WASH as well as other relevant programmes.

“My NGO and other relevant organisations are committed in ensuring that persons with disabilities are protected and we want to make sure their need are provided at all times,’’ he said.

He said that the vision of the organisation was to continue to build the global sanitation movement through collaborative action that inspired and drove demand for sanitation.

According to him, we are also committed to ensure that we provide innovative solutions to achieve sustainable sanitation for all.

Mrs Precious Airende, who represented Mrs Chizomma Okpara, the Acting Coordinator, Clean Nigeria,  Federal Ministry of Water Resources, said that the ministry would ensure that the challenges facing persons with disabilities were addressed effectively.

She stated that that the ministry was collaborating with relevant NGOs, Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders to ensure that the people were involved in WASH programmes.

Edited & Vetted By: Jane-Frances Oraka/Donald Ugwu

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