Aregbesola Tasks Osun Residents On Hygienic Environment

By Israel Afolabi

The Governor, State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has charged the people of the state to take environmental sanitation serious in their various environments.

Ogbeni Aregbesola disclosed this on Wednesday during a town Hall meeting on sanitation held at the Local Government Service Commission State Secretariat Complex, Osogbo, State of Osun.

The Governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Environment and Sanitation, Hon. Idowu Korede said, the town Hall meeting was to deliberate on how to improve sanitation in the state.

According to him, “We are planning with people of the state on sanitation which will be of benefit to both the people and government.

“We should all maintain cleanliness of our various communities for healthy living”, he added.
He said that the state government is taking good step to clean the nooks and crannies in the state and thereby saving property.

He urged every local government area in the state to consider maintaining clean environment in their domain as a big task.

He said, “The major aim of any local government should be sanitation because it helps good living”.

He advised market women and men to continue to clean their premises for good hygiene.

However, in his remark, General Manager, Osun Waste Management Agency (OWMA), Alhaji Ganiyu Oyeladun said that the meeting was called to deliberate on sanitation improvement in other to avoid cholera outbreak in the state.

According to him, “we want Osun to continue to progress on sanitations because the O’Clean family meeting involved everyone”.

“We need to do it from town to town and local government to local government” he added.

In his remark, the state commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon. Alimi Kolapo, urged the people to maintain cleanliness in their various environments.

He said, “Our people have neglected sanitation in various towns, now we all needs to resuscitate it again in the state”.

However, in their various contributions, all the stakeholders resolved that government should maintained its environmental policies and to continued to organise summit frequently.

They urged every citizen to comply with environment sanitation laws for good hygiene.

Meanwhile, the representative of Private Sector Partnership (PSP), Mr Adeniyi Babatunde commended the state government for its effort so far on sanitation and urged every citizen to continue to support the present administration. He advised the government to solicit law against illegal dumpsites across the state.

Erosion Destroys 200 Graves in Kano

The Kano State Commissioner of Environment, Dr. Ali Makoda has revealed, when he visited the Tarauni Grave yard in Tarauni Local Government, that erosion destroyed more than 200 graves at Tudun Murtala grave yard in Nasarawa Local Government Area of the state.

He said “Immediately when we received the news, we took an urgent action to ensure that such disaster did not continue.

“Presently we embark on the renovation of many grave yards across the state, especially those at the areas where they are facing the challenges of erosion.

He commended a community development association of the sanitation team at the grave for their efforts at keeping the grave yard clean.

The commissioner pledged to continue to give them all necessary support, especially with the working material to encourage them.

He called on other volunteer groups to also embark on such self-help work with the aim to move the state forward and ensure that all grave yards remained clean.

Makoda commended the public for complying with the sanitation order, calling on them to continue to support the government to keep the state clean.

Osun, American Company Sign $450m MOU On Environment

The Government of Osun, on Monday signed a partnership agreement worth $450 million with an American company on waste management.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the State Government and the American Green Environmental Global Solutions ‎Nigeria Limited which was signed to render services on turning wastes to consumables took place at the Governor’s office, Osogbo.

The partnership will create jobs, expand the economy, create a new dynamic economy in tourism and as well keep the environment clean.

Signing the MOU, the President of the Green Environmental Services of America (GESA) and America Green Environmental Solution Nigeria Limited (AGEGS), Patrick Onyeije ‎disclosed that the machineries and building as regards the planned projects will take 8-12 weeks to be fully on ground.

The President of the company explained that the first phase of the projects will cost $250 million‎, assuring that the company is ready to commence operation soonest.

Onyeije, who was represented by one of the top officials of the of company, ‎Major Samuel Adewumi (rtd) said the partnership will help to improve the economy of the state as waste will be collected from tenants and homes and recycled for valuable products such as tissue papers, plastics and organic manure (fertilizer) for farmers.

‎Onyeije said with the partnership, a new era has begun in Osun on effective and efficient waste management.

According to the President, ‎”Today marks a great ‎and important historical beginning in the epilogues and annals of captivating history of our people in the State of Osun. By accepting the arduous but admirable responsibility to take care of our environment is a lofty ideal to behold and as such a new day is born.

“We are here to change the story on the environment with the enunciation of these wonderful projects of garbage and sewage collection.

“It is befitting that the State of Osun has been selected to lead the rest of the country towards an evolutionary approach of reclaiming our environment. One thing that we all have taken for granted right from the time we were born to the time we die is our environment.

“Today marks a new beginning as we take the solemn commitment to protect our environment. We have to do our little best not to litter the streets but to recycle everything coming out of our homes and working places. Every household will purchase various containers from AGEGS for different ‎items from the household for which they can recycle.

“These containers will be picked up from your homes on designated days of the week and may include weekends as the need may arise.

“On behalf of Green Environmental Services of America (GESA) and America Green Environmental Global Solution Nigeria Limited (AGEGS), we say a big thank you to the government of the state of Osun.

“It is with great pleasure and gratitude that we have accepted to begin these great projects here in Osun. This amazing state, though small but mighty, has the propensity and foresight to always lead the way in innovations as the cradle of ingenuity making the state of Osun the pioneering state for the America Green Environmental Global Solutions in the whole of Nigeria, West Africa and Africa as a whole.

“We are here to create jobs, expand the economy, create a new dynamic economy in tourism and above all, keep your environment clean. We reiterate our gratitude to all our stakeholders locally and abroad and most especially our worthy partners in Government who have shown unparalleled commitment to the success of this project since inception.

“With these projects, the state of Osun has accepted to set an international standard in Nigeria for other states in the country to follow”, Onyeije added.

‎In his remarks, the Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, said the partnership was to complement his administration’s efforts in keeping the environment clean, safe,  green and sustainable.

Governor Aregbesola said his administration has never failed in its responsibilities of making Osun the safest state in Nigeria through its consciousness to environmental preservation and maintenance.

Aregbesola noted that in spite of the present economic challenges confronting the state, what cannot be taken away from his administration is the commitment to the environment.

He held that there has been improvement from what his administration met as regards environmental management, a development which he said has made Osun to be one of the states not affected by flood in the country.

According to Aregbesola, “We are not signing this Memorandum of Understanding for fun but rather to ensure that our efforts at maintaining and keeping our environment safe remains ‎non-negotiable.

“It is on records that one thing one cannot take away from our administration is our commitment to the environment. There has been a tremendous improvement from what our environment was before with what we have now.

“We have been very conscious and passionate about the wellbeing of our people and this made us to commit reasonable resources to environmental sanitation to advance the general wellbeing of our people, particularly to enhance healthy living.

“It is evident that very few states ‎could compete with us in environmental cleanliness as our state remains the reference point in avoiding opportunistic environmental and public health challenges.

“We have maintained a remarkable standard in environmental sanitation and public health management”. He added

Heavy Rains Render Many Homeless in Benue

Following about four hours of heavy downpour from late Saturday night to the wee hours of Sunday morning, many areas in Makurdi, the capital of Benue State have been left flooded. This includes Atusa, parts of Wadatta, Zone 4, Gana and Nyima.

Punch reports that A staff of the state house of assembly, Mr Tikili Simon said that some of the flooded areas from Zone 4 to Atusa and Gana were mostly affected because of lack of drainage.

According to him, ‘if you move from here to Atusa and the FADAMA area in Nyima which links Gana down to rail track along Barracks road, they are not conducive because there are no drainages’.

“All these places like Gana and Atusa are developing areas within 16 Kilometer radius, so government should do something to make these places habitable”.

Other representatives of the State for environmental issues have also laid the blame on lack of proper drainage channels.

Nigeria Takes Steps to Curb Gas Flaring

The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril, has described gas flaring as a key issue contributing to emissions and global warming.

According to Alhaji Jibril “if you look at the oil sector where the main revenue comes into the federation, you will discover that there are lots of environmental degradation as a result of oil spillage that has happened over the decades.

“We are fully aware that most of our people nowadays use firewood as a source of cooking, which apart from being harmful to the environment also affects the health of our women “ the Minister said.

Jibril said that gas flaring could be channeled into liquefied form that can be used for cooking, which will eliminate emissions, stop deforestation and enhance the health women in the country.

Nigerians May Experience Above Danger Heat Stress – NiMet

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency has predicted that many Nigerians would likely experience “above danger heat stress” this year due to the combination of heat and humidity.

NiMet, in its 2017 Seasonal Rainfall Prediction, said that heat for too long could cause heat stress which may, in turn, lead to several illnesses collectively called “hyperthermia”.

The agency warned that older people could have a tough time dealing with heat and humidity, as most people who dies from hyperthermia globally each year were over 50.

NiMet highlighted some of the heat related complications to include heat syncope, heat cramps, heat edema, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, adding that Nigerians were no exception.

According to the agency, heat syncope is a sudden dizziness that can happen when one is active outdoors in hot weather.

“Heat cramps are the painful tightening of muscles in your stomach, arms or legs which can result from hard work.

“Heat exhaustion is a warning that your body can no longer keep itself cool as people might feel thirsty, dizzy, weak, uncoordinated and nauseated accompanied by lots of sweating.

“Heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke where people need to get medical help right away.

“Older people and people who become dehydrated or those with chronic diseases or alcoholism are at most risk,’’ NiMet warned.

On malaria, NiMet said it had continued to make the forecast to sensitise citizens, advising the health sector to be better prepared to deal with the deadly disease.

The report said that `plasmodium falciparum’, a protozoan parasite that causes malaria found in Nigeria was the most dangerous of the malaria parasites.

According to NiMet, the process of mosquito birth and bites is directly influenced by rainfall, temperature and humidity that give rise to differences in stability of disease transmission and seasonal variations.

“In 2017, locations including Benin City and to its north are likely to experience high to extreme mosquito population throughout the year.

“To the north of Benin City, risk in mosquito population is expected to grow with rainy season months.

“In 2017, we expect lowest mosquito population risk occurring in areas north of Yelwa, Zaria, Bauchi and Yola axis.

“NiMet hopes to develop a partnership with health sector and others involved in malaria control through partnership on data collection on mosquito population and infected population to improve its malaria forecast model,’’ it said.

NiMet predicted that neutral El-Nino Southern Oscillation – variation in winds and sea surface temperatures phase, was most likely to dominate the January to June weather system across the country in 2017.

It said that the ENSO phase was expected to give way to a dominant El-Nino phase through the end of the year.


China Builds 7.6kms of Bicycle Path in the Air

It is called the ‘skycycle’ path. China’s first bicycle path in the air, at a length of 7.6 kilometres, have started a trial run in Xiamen, in the eastern Fujian Province.

According to Xiamen City Public Bicycle Management, the path will be open to all kinds of bikes, including public and private bikes, from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. during the month-long trial, in a bid to promote green transport.

The path appears as a winding viaduct and is built beneath the city’s overhead BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) lanes. The highest section of the bicycle path is five meters above ground.

The company said the path was designed to accommodate up to 2,023 bicycles per hour, with a maximum speed of 25 kilometers per hour. It covers the city’s five major residential and three business centers.

There are 11 entries on the path, which will connect with 11 bus stations and two subway stations.

“I’m a little bit afraid of the height, so I thought I would dare not ride on it. But today I found the guardrail made me feel safe,” said Xiamen resident Wu Xueying. “It’s nice to ride a bicycle under the blue sky in the sunshine.”

Resident Chen Yimin believes cycling may be an alternative to driving to work.

“I tried today, and it took 10 minutes from my home to my workplace, which is the same as when I was driving,” Chen said.


Snow Falls in Sahara Desert After 37 years –Reports

For the first time in almost forty years, the Sahara Desert, the world’s largest desert, experienced a snowfall. In comparison to the first snowfall in the desert which lasted 30 minutes, this lasted almost a full day. This may corroborate scientists’ claim that the Sahara would become green again in about 15,000 years.
Karim Bouchetata, an amateur photographer claimed that the red sands of the Sahara Desert turned white on Monday afternoon as icy flakes fell on it for the first time since 1979. The event reportedly happened near the small Algerian town of Ain Sefra, which is around 1,000 metres above sea level and surrounded by the Atlas Mountains.
The first time the Sahara Desert experienced snow was February 18, 1979. Even then, the snow storm reportedly lasted a mere 30 minutes.
Bouchetata said: “Everyone was stunned to see snow falling in the dessert. It is such a rare occurrence. “It looked amazing as the snow settled on the sand and made a great set of photos. The snow stayed for about a day and has now melted away.”

Oil Discovered In Borno: Good News for Boko Haram, Bad News for Lake Chad, By Churchill Okonkwo

After “enormous resources” was deployed in search for oil on the Nigerian side of Lake Chad Basin by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), a breakthrough was announced last week. According to Dr. Jamila Shua’ra, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, “Our doggedness culminated in the discovery of oil in new frontiers – Lagos and Borno.” This discovery (though the details are still shrouded in secrecy) is not surprising and is coming at the heels of similar finds in the adjoining Chad.
The puzzle however is the plan by the government to concurrently commence oil exploitation in the Northeast at the same time committing to ecological restoration of the Lake Chad Basin – the heartland of Boko Haram.
From the perspective of environmental effects, it’s obvious that there are competing visions of development. Here is why. The location of Lake Chad at the transition zone between arid and semi-arid regions, makes is vulnerable and sensitive to change. The last time we experienced the worst severe drought in living memory in the Sahel region of West Africa was in the early 1980s and one of the remarkable lingering effects was the desiccation of Lake Chad. The slow recovery from the sudden perturbation following the drought is an early warning signal and calls for an urgent action.
So, while I agree with President Buhari on the need to articulate a systematic restoration plan for the Lake Chad ecological system, drilling for oil there at the same time looks like an invitation to environmental chaos. The experience of the environmental carnage in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria should be a reminder of the devastating effect of oil exploitation in a country with near zero level of enforcing international standards in the extractive industries.
The extraction of oil from this inland basin will compound land degradation and environmental devastation. In addition, toxic wastes from oil spillage and leaking/broken pipelines will pollute the local waters upstream and ultimately the entire Lake Chad. Oil production can thus be messy and destructive. It can wreak additional havoc on the drought affected rivers and ecosystem. The question is, why put at risk these regionally sensitive area and the wildlife that depend on them for a “negligible” amount of oil?”
What immediately comes to mind is the urgency to score a political point that after all, the North can also boost of some oil reserve and revenue. That’s okay in today’s Nigeria where regional sentiment and resource control is trending. The quest to join the league of oil producing states or region supersedes environmental concerns. But there is a big elephant in the room– corruption. If we learnt anything from what has happened and is happening to the oil revenue from Niger Delta, it is clear that oil revenue paid by companies end up in the hands of corrupt government bureaucrats, leaving the oil producing communities in the sorry state of environmental decay. So, what could be done to avoid a repeat of mistakes in the Niger Delta oil region?
A medium to long-term strategy that will include an explicit assessment of ecosystem resilience and evaluation of ecosystem restoration benefits should be a starting point. To this end, oil corporations involved in oil exploration and exploitation in Lake Chad Basin should be involved in social projects like restoration of Lake Chad. They should be made to incorporate social and environmental considerations in their oil exploitation activities. We have all seen the devastated wasteland left behind by oil exploitation in the Niger Delta region. Any oil-prospecting license in the Lake Chad Basin should therefore be accompanied with a plan to minimize environmental damage. Such plan should include steps that will restore the already degraded land as well as better the lives of the local communities.
It is therefore necessary that the Nigerian government should trade with caution when it comes to how to delicately balance this two competing developmental goals. There is currently no action plan to mitigate and adapt to the socioeconomic as well as environmental challenges posed by this apparent regime change in the Lake Chad Basin. This is partly due to the absence of funding and lack of political will from member countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) namely Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Central African Republic. But there can be proactive measures to minimize drought impact on water resources that can assume and shape change.
Lake Chad wetland represents a threatened ecosystem that sustains life through the provision of critical services like fishing, water for irrigation and biodiversity. The desiccation of Lake Chad already has serious repercussions on the local economy, farming and livestock production. Local population that survives on cultivation from the lake, risks losing the ability to sustain livelihood from this natural resource.
Addressing this problem of environmental change in a drought prone region requires an ecological restoration project that transcends disciplinary boundaries and informs public policy. The good news is that one of the underlying drivers of the critical slowing down in the recovery of Lake Chad – anthropogenic pressure – can be manipulated. As such, proactive intervention in the form of wetland restoration and enhancement should form an integral part of adaptation and mitigation measures and any oil prospecting business in the lake Chad Basin. Measures that can be taken now to boost the resilience of Lake Chad ecosystem should be identified and prioritized.
There is thus need to establish a Lake Chad Resilience Project that will demonstrate how a science-based ecological restoration could incorporate community participation, inform decisions and improve economic wellbeing. The resilience project should champion plans to invest in sustainable industries such as fisheries and hydropower through the inter-basin water transfer from the Congo Basin as well as ecotourism. All these has the potential of creating permanent jobs and serving as the economic engine for resettling the ‘repented’ members of the dreaded Boko Haram currently ravaging the northeast region of Nigeria.
Failure to adequately preserve the ecosystem and guarantee the economic wellbeing of the inhabitants of Lake Chad Basin will be counterproductive. If Boko Haram will muster the financial resources and determination to challenge the territorial integrity of Nigeria “empty handed”, imagine, just imagine what they will do when oil production begins to devastate what is left of Lake Chad. It’s going to be a nightmare.
As we celebrate this discovery therefore, the unknown is whether the prospect of oil revenue will encourage the Boko Haram terrorist to fight on. Or worst still, will they go underground and resurface as “Lake Chad Avengers” after oil production in the region has commenced?

Churchill Okonkwo is the Director of the African Center for Climate Science and Policy Research, Washington DC. You can email Churchill at [email protected]

Minister, NCF Preach Sustainable Development On Forests

Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, has said her ministry would convene an emergency forest and biodiversity dialogue with relevant stakeholders to show its zero tolerance for the level of damage done to forest in Nigeria.

Mohammed, who said this during the celebration of International Day of Forest in Abuja, on Monday, added that all commissioners of environment, directors of forestry, Ministry of Finance and relevant NGOs would be involved in the dialogue aimed at putting a stop to activities causing deforestation and forest degradation.

According to her, forest in wetlands depends on water sources and at the same time, forest ecosystem sustains water quality and helps mitigate the risks of water related disasters. But she said, “Many see forest as source of revenue generation with little or nothing ploughed back for forest development. Activities of timber merchants, especially illegal loggers, continue to worsen the situation and the Ministry has zero tolerance for the damage done to the forest in Nigeria.”

She described the rate of deforestation and forest degradation arising from intensive logging of timber and fuel wood extraction as unacceptable
In his own submission, Director General of Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Adeniyi karunwi said if about two-third of the estimated population of 170 million Nigerians will individually plant or adopt a tree within their precincts and accord the trees the needed care, the nation would well be on the pathway towards having 25 per cent of its landmass under forest.

According to him, it is pertinent to be interested in Trees outside the Forest (TOF), simply defined as trees in cities, farms, along the roads and places other than forests, and the roles they play in urban greening and microclimate management.

Karunwi said myriads of opportunities forest offers had exposed it to “unhealthy exploitation by forest-dependent population beyond its regenerative capacity. This unsustainable extraction and the attendant dwindling stock of forest resource have made calls for its conservation.”

He said the present level of stakeholders’ involvement in forest conservation agenda was commendable but observed that more could still be achieved collectively and individually and urged Nigerians to engage in thought provoking reflections on how best to address the challenge of securing the remnant of the nation’s forest.