The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Dr Usani Uguru Usani, has expressed concern over the negative impacts of environmental damage in the Niger Delta region.
Usani expressed this concern at a one-day Stakeholders Validation Workshop and launching of a draft document on Niger Delta Region Climate Change Programme and Action Plan organised by the ministry.
The Minister decried a situation where communities in the region were submerged by flood with little or no action taken to address it, in a statement issued by Mr Stephen Kilebi, the Deputy Director Press of the ministry on Friday, November 2018 in Abuja.
According to him, the negative impact informed the ministry’s decision to streamline environmental policy action in the region.
He said that such environmental problems included flooding that ravaged the riverine communities, the prevalence of cancer-related ailments, the radio-active ailments as well as the soot that was in the atmosphere, especially in Rivers.
The minister decried a situation where communities in the Niger Delta region were being submerged by flood, while little or no action was taken to address the trend.
He called on relevant stakeholders to urgently device means of addressing environmental disaster that demands emergency in Nigeria, especially in the Niger Delta region.
He stated that all human activities were impacted as a result of climate change in the region.
“There is need to carry out sensitisation on climate change so that people will know the effect of what they go through.
“And also, that investors and economic moguls will discontinue harping on our ignorance while they make economic fortunes,’’ he said.
Usani said that the ministry would perfect the draft on climate change programme document to make it a worthy document that would guide all actions aimed at addressing environmental disasters in the region.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Aliyu Bisalla, said that climate change and global warming posed serious challenges to the region.
He noted that the pace of change was increasing, saying unless the trend was reversed, human and physical ecologies were bound to be seriously impacted.
The Chairman, Council of Traditional Rulers, Bayelsa State, King Alfred Diette-Spiff, charged the people of the region to take necessary measures to guard against more negative effects of climate change.
Corroborating Spiff’s view, the Chairman, Council of Traditional Rulers in Cross River State, Dr Etim Okon Edet, thanked the Federal Government for its development efforts in the Niger Delta region.
He advised that the ministry should inaugurate the completed housing project in Bakassi for the beneficiaries to address their housing need.
Edet also advised that the ministry should expedite action to ensure the completion of the skills acquisition centre in Akpabuyo in Cross River State.
By Uche Bibilari