… As FG raises alarm over unhealthy, degenerating human activities impacting the environment***
Flood has rendered at least 500 residents of Urua Ekpa, Afaha Oku and Udo Usanga streets in Uyo homeless.
The flood also submerged the residence of the village head of the affected area, Chief Okon Mkpong, when newsmen visited the area.
Mkpong told newsmen that the flood sacked him from his palace and that it was beyond what the village could handle.
He said that over the years, the community had written several letters to successive state governments to save it from the annual flooding to no avail.
“The community has written to governments till date; nothing has happened. Since 1999, nothing has happened. If it was possible the community would have addressed the problem.
“It is difficult for us. Gov. Udom Emmanuel should come and help us. We are all members of PDP. It is sad that even the Village Head’s residence is underwater and yet they say that Akwa Ibom is beautiful,’’ Mkpong said.
A trader, who simply identified herself as Mercy, expressed displeasure that the flood sacked many residents and crippled their businesses.
She said students of the University of Uyo, who were the majority of tenants as well as those who were doing businesses in the area, already left to safe locations.
She attributed the flooding in the area to the construction of new roads like Udoette, UNIUYO, Itam Market areas among others.
A resident, Mr Titus Sunday, said anytime it rained, his room was flooded, and he had nowhere to which to relocate.
“My room is flooded anytime it rains. When it rains like two or three hours, we relocate from our rooms. If you were here on Monday when it rained, you will not come up to this point,’’ he said.
A property owner in the area, Mr Ekpe Asuquo, said that residents could not quantify their losses over the years of the flooding and appealed to the state government to assist.
In his reaction, Mr Kufreabasi Edidem, member representing Itu Constituency at the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly, said he had brought the problem of the people to the notice of the state government for possible intervention, which was yet to come.
He said that officials of the National Emergency Management Agency had visited the community and distributed some relief materials to residents.
The lawmaker appealed to the people to be patient, assuring that the problem of the community would be addressed in the 2022 state’s budget.
In another development, the Federal Government on Wednesday expressed its concern over the spread of unhealthy practices and degenerating human activities in the country that were impacting the environment.
This, the government noted, had led to deforestation, loss of biodiversity, flooding and other environmental challenges in Nigeria.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Alhaji Hassan Musa, made the observation at the National Council on Environment (NCE) meeting in Abuja.
Musa, who represented the Minister of State of the Ministry, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, said that the situation had set the topography of the environment on a downward spiral.
The theme of the National Council on Environment meeting was: “Appraisal of the emerging challenges and opportunities in the Environment sector: A call for Action towards the environment of our dream”.
Ikeazor described the theme of this year’s council meeting as apt, considering the enormous challenges and opportunities that had been thrown up by the debilitating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to her, the pandemic was also a wake-up call for us to lay out a blueprint for a transformative recovery towards greater sustainability, a greener and more inclusive economy.
“The transformative recovery will inadvertently steer the economy unto the path of visible growth and development.
“However, the trajectory of growth we envision can only be achieved through the efficient discharge of our roles and obligations with utmost responsibility.
“As we are all aware, the widespread practices of unhealthy and degenerating human activities have led to deforestation, unprecedented global warming and loss of biodiversity.
“Also, climate change, flooding, plastic and air pollution, among others, have set the topography of our environment on a downward spiral,’’ she said.
Ikeazor noted that the commitment to finding lasting solutions to the restoration and sustenance of ecosystem was being assiduously executed through various programmes of the ministry.
She identified the programmes to include the Great Green Wall, Waste Management, Watershed Management, Renewable energy, Eco-Tourism, Green bond, Afforestation/Reforestation.
The ministry, she added, was also committed to implementing the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report on the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation project (HYPREP) and Environmental Impact assessment.
Ikeazor noted that the effort was with the aim of predominantly preserving the environment for sustainable development.
The minister said the ministry was similarly committed to building a thriving and sustainable economy, enhancing social inclusion and poverty reduction, enlarging agricultural output for food security for a better Nigeria.
“In order to achieve these goals, we must develop flexible and effective mechanisms, so that all actors involved are able to participate effectively and efficiently.
“More importantly, political will and support are required to mobilise the expertise, technical know-how and financial resources, which are vital determinants, to ensure the delivery of the desired change,” she said.
The ministry had taken effective actions in addressing the environmental challenges, through designing and implementing standard operating procedures, and providing technical support for environmental remediation projects, she said.
“Also, the ministry is designing programmes and processes to ensure a cleaner environment, as well as ensuring sustainable environmental planning and the conservation of our natural resources,’’ Ikeazor stated.