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Nigeria has lost 90% of its original forest cover – Expert

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Nigeria has lost 90% of its original forest cover – Expert

Forest

The Director, Cross River Landscape Programme of Wildlife Conservation Society of Nigeria, Dr Ina-Oyon Imong, says Nigeria has lost 90 per cent of  her original forest cover due to human activities.

Imong who stated this in Calabar on Sunday during the celebration of the World Wildlife Day, said over 50 per cent of the remaining forest cover was found in Cross River.

He said that only in small areas across the country that forests were still intact, adding that within those areas, the forests were fragmented and effectively isolating wildlife population.

The director said that the situation might lead to the extinction of some species.

“Globally, wildlife is under threat due to human activities ranging from hunting to habitat destruction such as farming, bush burning, logging, road construction, and so on.

”In Nigeria, the problem is that there is over exploitation of the wildlife; households want to generate income and food and so, they endanger our habitat.

”There is a greater demand for land now due to overpopulation and not everyone appreciates the value of our animal species beyond being bush meat.

”The Wildlife Conservation Society is working with government at all levels and communities to help conserve our important sites.

“It does this by training and supporting locals to have an alternative source of livelihood and providing equipment for rangers who go out to enforce laws protecting our wildlife,” he said.

The expert said the theme of this year’s celebration, “Life below Water: For People and Planet,” was apt.

He said it was a great opportunity to draw attention to the incredible diversity of marine life the country had and how they were being threatened.

”Our rivers are polluted with chemicals from factories and motorised boats make so much noise causing noise pollution on our water bodies.

”There is also the problem of plastic wastes that is everywhere in our oceans and rivers.

“I fear that not long from now our fishes and other wildlife bodies will begin to feed on plastics; you can imagine what the consequences would be,” he said.

The World Wildlife Day is celebrated annually on March 3 to raise awareness on the world’s wild animals and plants. (NNN)

CBN/FF/EMO

Edited by Fela Fashoro/Ejike Obeta

Environment

Open defecation can increase rate of sexual assault on children, women — Minister

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Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Environment said on Saturday that Open Defecation (OD) could lead to an increase in the rate of sexual assault on children and women.

Ikeazor made this known at the 2019 World Toilet Day 10,000 Man-March against Open Defecation in Nigeria, held in Abuja.

She said that many women and girls were being sexually assaulted as they defecated in the bush.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Toilet for All: Focusing on leaving no one behind”.

The 10,000 man-march was a roadshow organised by the ministry from Area 1 roundabout to the old parade ground in Area 3, Garki, Abuja to demonstrate the need to end open defecation in the country.

Participants in the roadshow included civil servants, primary and secondary school children, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members, representatives of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and Gbagi youths.

Ikeazor, who was represented by Mr Peter Daniang, the Director of Human Resources in the ministry said that the roadshow was in commemoration of the forthcoming World Toilet Day, designated by the United Nations General Assembly to hold on every Nov. 19.

She said that unsafe and unclean toilets could cause various problems including the spread of diseases such as typhoid, cholera, diarrhea and, hepatitis.

“The sanitation crisis that exists in many parts of the country and the impact it has on human beings and nature cannot be ignored.

“The ministry is urging each and every one of you to redouble your efforts in ensuring that everyone everywhere has access to toilet, leaving no one behind,’’ she said.

Mr Theodore Nwaokwe, the Director, Environmental Management in the ministry said that the march was one of the strategies that the government had put in place to create awareness on the need for every house to have a toilet.

According to him, there are several advantages attached to every household having a toilet.

He added that open defecation could lead to death, among other things.

“Ordinarily, the government is not to provide toilets for the people.

“If government were to build toilets in some locations, it should be like a pilot project showing people the kind of toilet they should build.’’

Dr Edwin Edeh, the National Consultant, Public Health and Environment, World Health Organisation (WHO) in Nigeria said that the march was a significant one as sanitation was necessary to human health.

According to Edeh, the theme for this year’s world toilet day is significant to WHO because it will help the organisation to galvanise actions among stakeholders and people at various levels to address open defecation in Nigeria.

He said that WHO had done a lot to support the government in the area of advocacy, training, pilot intervention on water and sanitation.

“WHO trained more than 230 women on domestic hygiene and sanitation in Edo and Ondo states.

“We have also trained 100 environmental officers and 200 community volunteers among others in Nigeria,” he added.

Some participants at the programme, who called for proper handwashing to prevent the spread of diseases such as diarrhea and cholera, also urged community leaders to ensure that people in their areas had access to toilets to eradicate open defecation.

(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)

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Environment

FG has commissioned no fewer than 700 water projects in Ogun, Kano states – Adamu

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PEWASH

Abuja, Nov. 15, 2019 Mr Suileman Adamu, the Minister of Water Resources, says the Federal Government has commissioned no fewer than 700 water projects in Ogun and Kano states in the last two years.

Adamu, who disclosed this at the Nigeria News Agency forum in Abuja on Friday, said the projects were under the Partnership for Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation & Hygiene (PEWASH).

NAN recalls that PEWASH was launched by Prof. Yemi Osinbajo in 2016 in a bid to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Six and to address the challenges being faced in the water supply, sanitation and hygiene sub-sector.

Cue in audio 1

“I think the people of Ogun and Kano, which are the two pilot states that we started with will tell you because two days ago, I received a nice letter from a community in Ogun state appreciating what we have done.

“Between the two states, we have rehabilitated or commissioned over 700 water schemes in the last two years, so that will tell you something.

“We are also working with Ondo state. Now we have 26 or 27 states that have subscribed to PEWASH. So we are stepping it up.

“We are discussing with the World Bank with additional funding so we will be able to expand to reach other states.

“So, the two pilot states we have done have been very very successful.’’

Adamu said that funding and commitment from state governments were required to sustain the PEWASH programme.

Cue in audio 2

“There are two key issues that will sustain this programme, one is funding.

“If we can get the required funding in our appropriation at the federal level and the states are ready to provide the matching grants that we said they must provide under the PEWASH we are good to go.

“Secondly, it is for the states to continue to make it a priority that water and sanitation sector is a priority. If they do that then I believe the PEWASH programme will make serious impact eventually.

`We also need the support of development partners up till now we have not received any commitment from them except from the World Bank that is willing to provide about 350 million dollars.

“And after this interview, the new Country Director of World Bank is coming to be visiting and one of the things I will tell him is to step up, we need much more than that.

“We requested for about 700 million dollars targeted at rural communities. This has been the efforts the Federal Government has been making but it does not supplant the responsibilities of the states.

“They should be doing their own beat and that is what we hope they will continue to do.’’

Edited by Grace Yussuf

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Environment

Minister urges state govts. to declare state of emergency on WASH

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Mr Sulieman Adamu, the Minister Water Resources has called on State Governments to declare state of emergence on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in their various states.

Adamu made the called at the Nigeria News Agency Forum on Friday in Abuja.

In 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari on Nov. 8, declared a state of emergency in the sector and emphasised that Nigeria must end open defecation by 2025.

“For Nigeria to achieve Open Defecation Free (ODF) in the country by 2025, it is imperative for water and sanitation facilities to be in place.’’

Cue in Audio

“We want state governments to also declare a state of emergence on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene the way the President declared same on Nov. 8, last year.

“The latest state that I have heard that has done so is Kastina state, which was done two days ago, so we are moving in that direction.

“Part of the actions that they need to take after declaring the state of emergence is also to put legislation to ban open defecation.

“But you do not ban without providing alternatives, and government at state level will also need to put in money to improve sanitation in motor parks, markets and other public places.

“Then there is an Executive Order that is going to be signed by the president to direct all government agencies, including enforcement agencies to ban open defecation that it is a crime,’’ he said.

He, however, noted that the Executive Order would be shared to various agencies after the signing the order for the public to know what it contained.

Adamu said that Mr President had promulgated the campaign against open defecation in the country to ensure that Nigeria would be Open Defecation Free by 2025.

Adamu said that it was mandatory for all federal agencies to maintain adequate toilets in their buildings while commercial building should also open up their toilets facilities for the public.

The minister also noted that at the federal level, advocacy, funding, and campaigns would be carried out to ensure behavioural change.

“The campaign will actually be driven by the states themselves, we expect that we will mobilise people such as the civil society, corporate bodies, Nollywood, market women, among others to do the campaign.

“We also hope that individuals and organisations can be sponsoring toilets in schools, medical institutions as the campaign is total, so that there will be a culture of respecting toilets and they need to provide these toilets.

“This is not about Federal Government and state governments going to houses to build toilets for people. That is the responsibility of individuals.

“We will like to demonstrate that it can also be a business running a toilet and water facilities can also be a business too in the society and in the rural areas,‘’ he said.

Adamu noted that state government and local government would be able to assist its people in building the toilets.

He said that at the federal level, the government would do the monitoring and evaluation of the progress to ensure that Nigeria achieved open defecation free by 20125.

Edited by Grace Yussuf

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Environment

Women can play critical role in combating climate change – Ikeazor

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Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, the Minister of State for Environment, says women have a critical role to play in combating climate change.

Ikeazor made this known while receiving Mrs Ebere Ifendu, the President, Women in Politics Forum (WIPF) and other women politicians in her office in Abuja.

According to her, climate change affects everyone but women bear the brunt of its adverse effects.

“Adverse results of Climate Change are security and farming crises.

“We are in the month of November and the rains are still falling. This is unusual and the people who suffer it most are women and children,” she said.

She recalled that President Buhari during the United Nations General Assembly in September, declared that Nigeria would plant 25 million trees to combat climate change and reduce carbon emission.

“To implement Mr President’s declaration, the importance of women cannot be overemphasised, we intend to incorporate women not only in tree planting but also for the implementation of various remediation projects to tackle erosion.

“Today, I say to every single woman here that you are an environmental champion and you must help us to combat climate change.”

The minister also urged the forum to be good ambassadors in all their endeavours as millions of women and girls are looking up to them as role models.

Earlier, Ifendu commended the minister for paving way for women in politics and urged her to continue to mentor women to act right in politics.

“We are here because we want to support the ministry in combating climate change.

“There are serious climate change problems across the globe and if you look at the percentage of people affected, you will know that women carry the brunt of its impact.

“There is need to educate women and to also embark on massive sensitisation, so women know their roles in solving climate change problem.”

Edited by Grace Yussuf

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Environment

Kano Environment Ministry to synergize with Water Agency for development

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Kano State Ministry of Environment said it would synergize with Water Resources, Engineering and Construction Agency (WRECA), to provide quality development in desertification and erosion control in the state.

The state Commissioner for environment, Dr. Kabiru Getso stated this on Friday, when he received the management of WRECA, led by its Managing Director in his office.

Dr. Getso revealed that the ministry and the agency have common tasks and functions, particularly in desertification and erosion control.

According to him, “Since we have similar tasks, there is absolute need to work together to achieve a maximum development for the benefit of the state.

Earlier, the Managing Director of Water Resource, Engineering and Construction Agency  (WRECA), Engr. Mannir Gwarzo, said they were in the Ministry to intimate him on the function of WRECA as a state owned agency with common tasks.

Engr. Gwarzo further maintained that the agency had a good track record but the record had declined due to several reasons, amongst which was the shortage of manpower.

Edited by Saidu Adamu/Tukur Muntari.

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Environment

Garki village will be open defecation free within 6 months – CSOs

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Defecation

Abuja, Nov. 15, 2019 The Action Initiative Against Open Defecation in Nigeria, a network of CSOs says in the next six months, Garki village in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) will be certified Open Defecation Free (ODF).

Dr Austin Maduka, the National Coordinator of the NGO made this known during official launch end open defecation in Garki village.

Maduka, represented by Mr Desmond Chieshe, the Deputy Coordinator of the NGO said that Garki village was adopted as a pilot community to begin its actions toward ending open defecation.

He said that the village was carefully selected as a first pilot community to kick start the programme as the environment “is an eye-sore’’.

“We chose Garki village because from Garki old abattoir down to Area 3 is a no-go-area, especially during rainy  season.

“We went round Abuja, we visited Mabushi, along Airport road and Garki village but after our assessment, we decided to kick start from Garki village.

“In the next six months, Garki village will be ODF, though it has over 70 chiefdoms but we will handle them one after the other to achieve our mandate.

“We are using today to raise awareness and inspire action from our traditional and community leaders, councilors, chairmen, minister among others that sanitation issue is our collective problem and our failure to tackle it affects us all.

“We collectively kick against the practice of open defecation in our community and perhaps begin the criminalisation of defaulters who are hell bent on polluting the air that we breathe,” he said.

He said that the statistics from the National Road Map said that about 87,000 deaths of children under the age of five were reported annually dying from diarrhea and sanitation related diseases.

According to him, there is need for corresponding actions to improve public access to sanitation facility as urbanisation put pressure on infrastructure and social services.

He said in the light of this precarious situation that civil society, NGOs and well-meaning Nigerians came together to form the action initiative against open defecation in Nigeria.

“The network comprising over 30 organisations resolved to support the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari in his commitments and political will to ensure Nigeria exit from open defecation by 2025.

Mrs Racheal Omenta, the Principal Environmental Health Officer, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) said that the board would not lag behind in ensuring “Abuja is ODF’’.

Mr Babangida Sadiq, the Garki village youth leader promised that all the youths of the village would support the open defecation drive in the village.

Sadiq also appreciated the NGO for choosing and kick starting the programme from Garki village.

The Actions Initiative Against Open Defecation in Nigeria has five years mandate to ensure Abuja and other communities across the country are open defecation free.

The NGO also inaugurated some youths in Garki village to assist, monitor and ensure the success of the exercise in the village.

Edited by Grace Yussuf

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