The Honourable Minister of Environment, Hajia Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafia, has commended the pro-active stance of Osun State government towards prevention of flooding in the state, by heeding the National Environment and Metrological Institute’s (NEMTI) warning in dredging its waterways and preventing dumping of refuse on its waterways, so as to avert disaster in the state.
She gave the words of commendation in Abuja at the 8th National Council on Environment, held at Yar’Adua Sports Complex, Murtala Square, Kaduna last Thursday.
Speaking on the theme: “Transforming the Nigerian Environment”, Hajia Mailafia said that the theme has been deliberately chosen to afford the stakeholders the opportunity to reflect and exchange views on the general state of the Nigerian environment, to examine and chart the way forward on environmental issues in the country.
The minister, who hammered on environmental challenges of deforestation, waste management, oil spillage and climate change said that the ministry has recently established Flood Early Warning System (FEWS), which is a web-based system for the forecast of possible devastating flood event in the country and it has installed automated flood early warning equipment in Ogun-Osun River Basin.
She therefore called on the state governments across the federation to key into the initiative of the Federal Government, by providing and installing this technology in order to safeguard flood hazards that was prevalent in major river flood plains across the country.
On desertification, the Minister for Environment lamented on desertification, especially in Bauchi, Borno, Yobe Gombe, Adamawa, Jigawa and other Northern states with the increase in the pilling of sand dunes, which have increased by 170 per cent from 820km2 to 4830km2 between 1976 and 1995.
She also called on all states in the South Western geo-political zone of the country to tackle the menace of deforestation as the total area occupied by forest reserves has gone down from ten per cent in 1977 to about six per cent recently.
She hinted that the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) recommended 25 per cent of total landmass to be forest cover, but that the nation was not guiding its forest reserves jealously, which according to the minister, was hazardous to the nation’s environment.
Mailafia therefore tasked all the stakeholders on the target ahead, as she said that Nigerian forest reserve cover must be increased to 10 per cent by 2013.
Moreso, the Federal Government in partnership with states has established 1,500 kilometres of Green Wall Sahara in the Eleven frontline states in the Northern part of the country and that the coastline erosion would just be reduced from the present 835 kilometres coastline erosion site to 350 by the year 2013, she concluded.