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Renewable energy can enhance agriculture value chain – Stakeholders

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Some renewable energy stakeholders on Tuesday said that energy could be exploited to enhance the agricultural produce and products value chain.

They said this at the just concluded programme on ‘Promoting the Citizens Access to Clean Energy Solution in Nigeria: A Gender Approach’ in Lagos.

The event, organised by Clean Technology Hub, a non-governmental organisation, seeks to increase access to clean energy and improve climate resilience.

According to them, preservation, drying and refrigeration of all aspects of agricultural produce and products value chain need energy, which the national power supply grid could not meet.

Renewable energy is the energy collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale.

Some examples of renewable energy sources are solar energy, wind energy, hydro power, geothermal energy and biomass energy.

They are different from fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas.

Ms Chidinma Ezike, Climate Action and Environment Associate, Clean Technology Hub, said that there were solutions proffered by experts, to help those in agriculture to do their work efficiently.

“We all know that women make up 70 per cent of those in the agricultural sector, and that they are involved at subsistence level.

“After harvest, preservation of crops and foodstuffs, drying of some products and refrigeration become an issue, as all require energy.

“Statistics show that almost 93 million Nigerians are not connected to the national grid.

“They rely on unclean sources of energy, exposing themselves to ill-health after prolong exposure.”

According to her, renewable energy have solutions to this and enhances the way agricultural produce are handled.

Ms Yeside Dipo-Salami, Business Development and Stakeholder Senior Associate, Clean Technology Hub, said that energy solutions had been proffered in areas of small solar panels and converting biomass to energy.

“Some appliances have been developed using the renewable energy technology, especially solar systems.

“All these appliances are environmental friendly, and do not emit much carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

“The aim is to make life easier for everybody, especially those in agriculture value chain.

“There are different home and commercial appliances made with solar systems such as freezers, dryers, clean cook stoves and solar kiosks, among others,” she said.

Dipo-Salami noted that biomass energy could be generated to drive machines and other implements that required electricity.

According to her, there are many home and commercial solar systems designed to solve specific problems at home and business areas.

She said that the products could also be designed according to the need of the person.

Dipo-Salami said that by using these renewable energy technologies, people could also make some money for their livelihood.

Mrs Olasimbo Sojirin, Country Manager, Solar System Nigeria, said there was need to use geographical locations to bring energy to areas that have less than four-hour light a day, or no grid at all.

“The focus was on reaching the rural communities and assisting them to have access to energy through renewable energy.

“There are communities, even in urban centres, that do not have grid, those whose transformers have not worked for years, and those who do not have light for two hours.

“With solar energy and involvement of women, some communities have been empowered with electricity to drive their various means of livelihoods and preparation and preservation of agricultural produce and products.

“Solar energy systems ranging from cook stoves, water filters, lamps, phone charges to solar panel solutions for households and agriculture equipment are now available,” she said.

Sojirin noted that women were to look for the needs of their communities and work toward empowering them with solar system, to solve that particular need.

Mrs Lande Abudu, the Chief Operating Officer, Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria, said that people should first realise that there were energy problem and that everybody should be involved in solving the problem.

“Getting a lot of people to have access to energy will create a new set of entrepreneurs.

“There are lighting options, cooking options and small businesses options.

“Part of the solution is not just in donating anything to the affected areas but electrifying the remote areas through widespread installations of solar system facilities,” she said.

Mrs Ifeoma Malo, the Managing Director, Clean Technology Hub, said that women consumed energy more and so, should be at the centre of promoting the use of renewable energy in Nigeria.

“Women need to be involved in renewable energy for it to take root in the country.

“Unfortunately, Nigeria has a poor record of electricity distribution, and no part of the country can boast of 12-hour uninterrupted electricity supply a day.

“Women are at the receiving end, as they account for the most consumer of electricity at home, as small scale business owners and as industrialists.

“The question then arises, how to get these women to increase their livelihood by adopting centralised renewable energy.

“That is why involving women in spreading renewable energy usage is key, at home, where there is no grid at all, or where electricity is epileptic,” she said.

Malo said that its Open Society Initiative For West Africa (OSIWA) was aimed at citizens inclusion in projects, targeting at women in leadership positions, rural communities, micro, small and medium entrepreneurs.

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Environment

Lagos urges residents to guide against heatwave

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The Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) has advised Lagosians to guide against extreme heat by drinking lots of water.

The General Manager of LASEPA, Dr Adedolapo Fasawe, in a statement on Thursday urged residents to ensure adequate ventilation at homes and offices in order to mitigate the intensity of the prevailing heatwave in the state.

Fasawe also advised to adequately prepare for heat intensity associated with the dry season which had manifested globally as heatwaves with serious public health implications.

She said that Lagos, being a highly urbanised city, had a higher risk of increased warming due to the heat.

According to her, the effect is palpable where there is a high density of dark surfaces (concretes structures, paved roads and buildings) that absorb and emit more heat within a defined area.

”High rate of fire and flooding incidents are some of the effects of heatwaves, and this underscores the need to desist from burning refuse, being a contributory factor to a high rate of heatwaves.

”Other factors that contribute to heatwaves include the use of poorly-serviced generators and use of ozone-depleting materials, all of which add to greenhouse gas emissions,” she  said.

Fasawe urged Lagosians to engage in tree planting activities and greenery within their localities and environments, ensure that they were properly hydrated at all times and stay within well ventilated areas.

Edited by Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Environment

Climate change: Stakeholders hold 24-hour reality education programme

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Some climate reality leaders, teachers, religious leaders and other stakeholders in the environment sector on Thursday, held a 24-hour reality education programme to address  climate change issues.

They held the programme at the Army of God Church, Lugbe,  Abuja, to join 1,600 action presentations against climate change across the world.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that 24 Hours of Reality: Truth in Action is a global day of climate presentations led by climate reality leaders.

It is a day set aside by the Climate Reality Project, led by former Vice President Albert Gore of the United States.

Mrs Rose Agbo, who described herself as climate reality leader, said the climate reality project aimed at training leaders to convey message on the need to protect the planet.

Agbo said this year, climate reality leaders globally would be amplifying the global conversation and making it clear about the need to take urgent action at every level of society.

“Today is very unique day. This programme is happening globally and it is 24 hour programme of reality where trained climate reality leaders would be having contact with communities, schools and stakeholders to discuss and find ways to solve climate crises.

“Today, I particularly strategise to speak with missionaries, religious leaders and teachers because they are front liners.

“They are always found in the school and education environment. So, they will be able to relate with students, teachers that can influence others and do more of advocacy,” she said.

Climate reality leader also listed trees felling, bush burning, indiscriminate dumping of wastes and burning of fossils fuel as factors that caused climate change.

The West Africa Coordinator of Climate Reality Project, Mr David Michael, called on Nigerians to quickly take action against climate change.

According to Michael, every individual on earth must wake up and join hands with others to ensure that we take action against climate change.

“We need to speak truth to people in power and politicians to understand the urgency of climate crises.

“It is as if they don’t understand how serious the issues are but practically in Nigeria we are feeling the effect of climate change,” he said.

Pastor Shigaba Barnabas of Army of God Church, Lugbe,  Abuja, said that a 24-hour reality education programme had improved his environmental knowledge.

“I benefited so much from the programme. I am going to be an advocate by impacting this knowledge to others in the church,” Barnabas said.

Mrs Mercy Nwanozie, a teacher, said with the education programme, he would be able to educate students on how to properly dispose refuse and tell them on the importance of trees in the environment.

Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Environment

Lafia residents will enjoy steady power supply by first quarter of  2020 – NDPHC

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Residents of Lafia, Nasarawa state capital and its environs will soon enjoy adequate and steady power supply as the construction of the 330/132 KVA transmission substation in the city nears completion.

Mr Umar Moddibo, Manager of the project disclosed this on Thursday at an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) workshop with members of the Akurba host community and other stakeholders.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the project is being executed by the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC).

Moddibo noted that the project had reached 95 per cent and upon completion, would provide at least 23 hours adequate electricity supply to Lafia and environs.

“According to our work schedule, all major works at the substation will be completed by Dec. 23.

“What will be left is the powering (Turn in – turn out) of the substation from the nearest transmission line.

“Our target is that by the end of the first quarter of 2020, the issue of insufficient power supply in Lafia and environs will be over,” Moddibo said.

He explained that the substation have the capacity of 420 MVA and one of the best amongst the 72 substations so far built by the NDPHC in the country.

Moddibo said that the project would enhance rapid socio-economic development in the state through the reduction of cost of production of goods and services.

“This will encourage the establishment of factories and small scale business, improve standard of living as well as increase the revenue base of the state,” Moddibo said.

He said that the company would build block of classrooms for the community as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Mr Eze Odigbo, General Manager, Environment and Community Relations of NDPHC said that the essence of the EIA was to ensure the environmental sustainability of the project.

Odigbo, represented by Mr Olajide Olubunmi, the deputy general manager said the scoping workshop was part of the EIA process where the host community and other stakeholders interface with the company to collectively assess the impact of the project.

He noted that the ultimate aim was to ensure the mitigation or elimination of negative impact arising from the project.

In his remark, Alhaji Aliyu Ahmadu, District head of Akurba community, who spoke through the youth leader, Idris Mohammed commended the Federal Government for siting the project in their community.

According to him, the project aimed at industrialising the state is a clear demonstration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s determination to develop the country.

He, however, appealed to the company to employ some of the youth who were engaged in the construction of the substation as permanent staff.

Edited by Modupe Adeloye/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Environment

Lagos govt shuts Oyingbo Market over environmental infractions

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The Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) has put business activities on hold at the popular Oyingbo Market over sundry environmental infractions.

The Managing Director of LAWMA, Dr Muyiwa Gbadegesin, said in a statement on Thursday that the infractions included indiscriminate refuse dumping and refusal to patronise Private Sector Participation (PSP) operators.

Others were roadside trading and poor hygienic practices resulting in serious environmental problems in the area.

Gbadegesin said that an abatement notice and several warnings issued to the traders yielded no result, thus necessitating the closure.

He said that the market would be reopened when traders began to comply with government’s rules and regulations by shunning indiscriminate refuse disposal and patronising assigned PSP operators.

The LAWMA boss appealed to other markets in the state to imbibe the culture of effective waste disposal as markets whose activities were found detrimental to the health and environmental well being of the populace would be shut down until further notice.

According to him, efforts of the state government to enthrone sustainable environment are being undermined by some individuals who will rather dump refuse on unauthorised locations, hence the need for total enforcement.

He warned that the grace period for environmental defaulters in the state had expired, as there would be total enforcement against all forms of illegal and reckless waste disposal capable of degrading the environment and posing health hazards to residents.

”The act of indiscriminate refuse disposal in the city poses grave danger to public health and economic growth.

”Before now, we adopted moral suasion as a tool to persuade residents to shun indiscriminate dumping.

”In spite of our efforts, some people have bluntly refused to turn a new leaf. Now we have commenced total enforcement to put defaulters in check,” Gbadegesin said.

The LAWMA boss noted that the Enforcement Unit of the agency had been mandated to work round the clock to clamp down on all environmental infractions capable of derailing efforts of the authority toward environmental sustainability in the state.

”Section 115 (4) and 116 part IV, Environmental Sanitation Nuisances and Litters, as well as Section 81, Part III, Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) of Environmental Management and Protection Law 2017 prohibits dumping of waste at undesignated places, which attracts specified sanctions,” he said.

Gbadegesin said that the agency recently published a public notice in major national dailies, stating various environmental offences and appropriate sanctions to defaulters.

”The state’s laws are quite clear on the prohibition of illegal refuse disposal. It shows zero tolerance for environmental infractions and violators would be duly sanctioned to serve as deterrent to other residents,” he said.

Gbadegesin called on residents to support efforts of the state government to establish a cleaner and healthier environment in Lagos by ensuring they bagged and containerised their wastes appropriately, as well as patronising assigned PSP operators.

He said that LAWMA would continue the distribution of waste disposal bags under its Blue Box Initiative, for residents to sort their waste and dispose appropriately.

The LAWMA boss said that residents should promptly contact the authority using the toll-free line , for complaints and relevant information.

Edited by Tayo Ikujuni/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Environment

FCTA to prosecute open defecation offenders — Minister

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Malam Muhammad Bello, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), says the administration is working assiduously towards effective prosecution of offenders of open defecation (OD).

The FCT minister disclosed this at the World Toilet Day celebration organised by Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) on Thursday in Abuja.

Represented by Dr Bawuro Yahaya, AEPB Board Chairman, Bello said that the AEPB Act was being reviewed to achieve the prosecution.

The theme for 2019 World Toilet Day is “Toilet for All” Leaving no one behind.

He said that the FCT Administration was committed to addressing OD and general sanitation challenges in the FCT in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s declaration of state of emergency on water, sanitation and hygiene in the country.

He said that the territory had put in place a ministerial committee saddled with the responsibility to come up with modalities for the provision of additional toilet facilities.

He called on all stakeholders to key into the renewed drive of the administration to ensure that no one was left behind in the quest to end open defecation in the FCT.

Mr Christian Ohaa, Permanent Secretary of FCT, said that sanitation systems that do not safely treat human waste allowed spread of serious public health hazard.

Ohaa, represented by Mr Samuel Atang, Director, Office of Permanent Secretary, said that statistics showed that only 11 out of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria had contained OD.

He said that OD had economic, social and health impact on national development.

“It will interest you to know that Nigeria loses about 1.3 per cent (N455 billion) of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually to poor sanitation and a third of that cost was as a result of OD,” he said.

Ohaa said that the Federal government through the Executive Order 009 titled “OD free Nigeria by 2025 and other related matters order” was aimed at ensuring Nigeria becomes OD free.

He said that FCT would key into the important initiative and join crusade against OD.

“Indeed, we cannot afford to leave anyone behind because we can’t claim success until every citizen has access to safe and affordable sanitary conditions,“he said.

He said that the administration was partnering with the private sector for the use of solar power public toilets.

Bello said that the administration was also working hard to ensure that all schools and other public institutions in the FCT were fitted with functional toilets.

Mr Baba Lawan, Executive Director of AEPB, said that United Nations Sustainable Development Goals called for more than just toilets and urged stakeholders to maximise their added value along the sanitation value chain.

Lawan said some key areas that could help to eradicate OD included sharing of information with others on the consequences of OD as well as talk about the sickness and diseases related to poor sanitation.

Others are investing in toilet and sanitation, becoming toilet advocate and engaging in continuous leaning process.

Mr Olugbenga Sowole, Environmental Health Officer, said that globally, the world was off track to meet sustainable development goal 6 which was to ensure sanitation and water for all by 2030.

He challenged the rich and other well meaning Nigerians to bail their communities from OD by providing adequate toilets.

Other speakers at the event called for adequate conveniences in the FCT, more advocacy on OD, community mobilisation, corporate social responsibility and public private partnership in eradicating OD in the FCT and Nigeria at large.

Edited by Joseph Edeh/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Environment

Kano communities laud FG for prompt intervention over effluent discharge

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Communities located within the Challawa, Bompai and Sharada industrial areas of Kano metropolis have commended the Federal Government for its intervention in addressing the challenges of effluent discharge by companies in the areas.

The federal government, under its intervention programme through the Ecological Fund Office (EFO), is currently constructing concrete chambers and laying pipes that will be connected to the outlets of the tanneries and textile industries for the discharge of their industrial effluents.

The industrial effluents are to be channelled to three treatment plants being constructed in the area.

The communities made the commendation when a team from the Ecological Fund Office (EFO), led by the Director, Information, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), Mr Willie Bassey, visited the project site in Kano on Thursday.

NAN reports that the team was in Kano to inspect the damage caused by the effluent discharge in the industrial areas and the efforts by the EFO to contain environmental damage.

A Leader of one of the communities and Chairman of Sabuwar Gandu Development Association, Alhaji Ado Hamza, told the team that the entire Sharada community living around the industrial area was very happy with the project.

According to Hamza, the establishment of the industrial pollution management facility would go a long way in addressing the indiscriminate discharge of untreated industrial effluents, which affected not only the quality of water they drink but also polluted the soil and air.

“We are really short of words to express our thanks and gratitude to the federal government for its intervention,” he said.

Also, a community leader in Panshekara, Alhaji Nasiru Mohammed, lauded the federal government for its concern.

He said that many residents of the area had died due to challenges arising from the evironmental and ecological pollution.

He appealed to the government to ensure the immediate payment of compensation to persons whose farmlands were acquired for the laying of the pipes in the area.

“We really appreciate the federal government for initiating the project. However, we appeal that it should compensate farmers who are affected by the project,” Mohammed said.

Earlier, the Team Leader, Mr Willie Bassey, expressed satisfaction with the level of work done so far.

Bassey urged the benefitting communities to continue to support the contractor handling the project to enable him to do a quality job.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the team, which was accompanied by officials of the Kano State Ministry of Environment and journalists, also visited the site for the proposed industrial waste treatment plant at Sharada.

(Editing by Oluyinka Fadare/Sam Oditah)

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