Category: Environment

Bayelsa To Set Up Environmental Guards

In order to check deforestation and other environmental infractions, Bayelsa State would soon set up a body to be known as Bayelsa State Environmental Vanguard.

Governor Douye Diri, who disclosed this on Tuesday during the celebration of this year’s World Environmental Day in the state, lamented the degradation of the environment  through oil exploration and exploitation activities by international oil companies, illegal oil bunkering and other unhealthy environmental practices.

The governor, in a press release issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, urged Bayelsans to shun practices that are inimical to preservation of the environment. 
He called for concerted effort to preserve the environment, adding that  a healthy environment is fundamental to the survival of the people.

He said: “Let me seize this medium to call on Bayelsans and residents to individually and collectively ensure behavioural change. Take responsibility of watching over our environment. I put you all on notice to defend our environment. Degradation of the Bayelsa environment must come to an end.
“The fight to preserve the integrity of the environment is global. But in Bayelsa, let us localise it, own it, speak it and work it.”

Governor Diri directed the Commissioner for the Environment to constitute a team for the establishment of a Bayelsa State Environmental Vanguard, which would be saddled with the responsibility of ensuring a clean and healthy environment. He also directed the ministry and the state Physical Planning Board to ensure that all development plans had green areas to mitigate the heat caused by climate change and global warming.

He called on oil companies, government officials and well-meaning individuals to collaborate with government to achieve his administration’s policy of restoring the ecosystem.

In his goodwill message, Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly represented by chairman of the Committee on Environment, Hon Ben Ololo, noted that the state’s environment was highly polluted due to unhealthy practices and called for tree planting, cleaning of drainages among other measures to preserve a healthy environment.
In a welcome address, the Commissioner for the Environment, Hon. Iselema Gbaranbiri, re-emphasised the importance of a healthy environment to healthy living and urged the oil companies to be committed to the restoration of the degraded environment due to oil exploration.

Gbaranbiri warned against illegal felling of trees, which he said was  leading to deforestation of forest in the state.
Highpoints of the event were poem recitations on the environment by students of different secondary schools in the state as well as a lecture delivered by Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Niger Delta University, Prof. Ibaba S. I Ibaba.

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Bayelsa Bans Logging, Deforestation Activities

Bayelsa State government has halted logging without permit and other deforestation activities in order to protect the state’s forest reserves.

Henceforth, all commercial timber dealers are to obtain permit from the Ministry of Environment before embarking on logging activities.

Governor Douye Diri, who stated this on Monday during this year’s International Day of Forests celebration in Yenagoa, also directed that an executive bill in consultation with the Environment Ministry and related civil society organisations be prepared and forwarded to the House of Assembly. 

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, said the governor also said that the new bill would repeal existing environmental laws that are now obsolete.
His words: “Henceforth, all timber dealers are to obtain permit before taking out logs from our forest reserves. This is to protect our forests.

“I hereby direct that an executive bill in consultation with the state Ministry of Environment and related civil society organisations be sent immediately to the House of Assembly.

“This bill should repeal every other existing laws. I trust the State Assembly to do justice to this bill so that we can protect our forests.” 

Governor Diri emphasised that his administration was determined to protect such reserves through the legal framework.

“It is interesting that somebody that came from Cameroon has told us about an only specie in the world found in our state and yet we cannot protect it. So this bill should look at ways and means of preserving such few species in our forests.” 

The governor, who also frowned at the use of dynamite by fishermen, noted that the bill should make the use of explosives on the state’s waterways an offence. 
Diri asserted that as a government that preaches prosperity, it cannot fold its arms and watch forests in the state being degraded.

He directed the Commissioner for Environment to rejuvenate the forest guards and deploy them to their respective local government areas to ensure effective protection of the reserves.

The governor also granted the request by the Ministry of Environment to adopt six proposed forest reserves.
Speaking earlier, the Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Iselema Gbaranbiri, said the International Day of Forests was declared by the United Nations General Assembly to raise awareness on the importance of all types of forests for the benefit of current and future generations.

Mr. Gbaranbiri remarked that healthy forests strongly influence the quantity of water yielded from watersheds, discharge the highest quality of water and provide logs, fuel woods, fodder and medicinal plants used by local and indigenous communities.

According to him, the state has six reserves namely the Taylor Creek, Edumanom, Apoi Creek, Nun River, Igbedi Creek and Ikebiri Creek Forest Reserves.

Coordinator of the Red Colobus Conservation Network, Miss Florence Aghomo from Cameroon, stressed the need for Bayelsans to be responsible in forest preservation as its socio-economic benefits cannot be over-emphasised.
According to Miss Aghomo, Nigeria is a home to two of 18 Taxa species known to science and the Niger Delta red Colobus can only be found in Bayelsa and Preuss’s red colobus in Cross River State.

Also speaking, Mr. Morris Alagoa from the Environmental Rights Action (ERA), who lauded the governor for the history making event, appealed for the establishment of a zoological garden and community forest-driven management in the state.

In the same vein, the Executive Director of Trees For Life Initiative, Chief B. Okolo, presented a medicinal plant, Dogoyaro, to the governor and his deputy.
Highpoint of the ceremony was the planting of trees by Senator Diri alongside his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo and other top government functionaries.

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WWD: Bayelsa Governor Decries River Pollution

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has condemned the level of pollution of the state’s water resources that has degraded its ecosystem over the years.

To this end, he charged the Ministry of Water Resources and other relevant stakeholders to come up with an action plan that would enable government achieve its agenda in harnessing its water resources.

Senator Diri gave the charge on Monday during this year’s World Water Day celebration with the theme: “Valuing Water” at the Chief Harold Dappa-Biriye Conference Centre in Yenagoa.

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as noting that the statistics regarding the current water, sanitation and hygiene systems were far below expectation.

The governor assured that his administration would utilise resources at its disposal to improve access to potable water, sanitation and hygiene as part of efforts in promoting healthy lifestyles.

“Water is invaluable but we have abused it in Bayelsa. God endowed us with water resources and rather than respecting and protecting it, people are abusing our rivers through the operation of illegal refineries and other human activities that have destroyed our natural fauna.

“I call for an action plan that would enabe this government achieve its prosperity agenda. Our plan is to ensure we provide potable water across all our local government areas.”

The governor also inaugurated the state Council on Water Resources as well as set up an Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH).

He chairs the WASH Committee while the Water Resources Commissioner is chairman of the Council on Water Resources.

In his address, the Commissioner for Water Resources, Wariebi Kemebradikumo, said the government has restored water supply in parts of the state capital like Ovom as well as approved the operation and calibration of the 450 cubic metre per day Ovom waterworks, the 1,500 cubic metre per day Okaka main waterworks and 3,600 cubic metre per day Otuoke regional waterworks.

Kemebradikumo also said the Yenagoa reticulation was receiving attention and would soon be replaced.
In his presentation,  Director of Corporate Support Services, Engr Sunday Idowu, who represented Engr U.B. Magashi, Executive Director in the Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management Commission, described water as a precious asset central to the basic needs of life.

He also identified some challenges in water development and management in the country, which include lack of political will, pollution of water resources and climate change.

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