Dr Joseph Onoja, Director, Technical Programmes, Nigerian Conservation Foundation(NCF), has advised that environmental considerations be factored into the nation’s recovery plans and strategies for post-COVID-19.
Onoja said in a statement issued by Mr Oladapo Soneye, the Head, Communications, NCF, in Abuja on Wednesday that any post-COVID-19 recovery plans that did not factor in environmental considerations might not have much impact.
He said that the environment served as a shock-absorber for many, especially the rural poor who were already the most vulnerable to climate change.
“The post-COVID-19 recovery plans and strategies should be seen as an opportunity to tackle not only the immediate effect of the pandemic but the impact of climate change that had been hanging over them before the COVID-19 era.’’
The NCF boss said government at all levels had to ensure that policies that would promote nature conservation were put in place.
He said that corporate organisations had to support nature conservation because the environment was the number one factor of production without which these organisations would not be able to produce or offer whatever service they had to offer.
“Communities and individuals also play vital roles as direct custodians of these wildlife by ensuring that their activities and actions do not impact wildlife negatively,’’ he said.
Onoja said that nature had created a delicate balance where wildlife played a critical role to the overall conducive living of mankind in the world.
“For instance, a Pangolin consumes over 70 million ants and termites in one year, saving a forest as large as 31 soccer fields. Imagine what will happen to mankind if 70 million ants and termites are unleashed on us.
“The critical role vultures play in ensuring that diseases do not spread by them cleaning up carcasses before they develop spores that will transmit infections such as Cholera, Botulism, etc.
“Or imagine how we will get our food if the incredible pollinators, bees disappear from nature.”
Speaking on strategies deployed to curb the spread of virus on nature conservation and biosafety, Onoja commended the government for banning the handling of wildlife and closing down illegal wildlife markets.
According to him, these are positive steps in the right direction, adding that the lockdown had tremendous impact on the environment.
“The level of air pollution has drastically reduced and the restricted movements is making wildlife reclaim areas where they were absent for a long time,’’ the NCF boss said.
He said that there was an ongoing global campaign tagged: “New Deal For Nature and People’’ .
According to him, the campaign is an opportunity to make ambitious global commitment to nature because it was the life-support system for humans and therefore, the component of people.
He said there must be a paradigm shift where instead of humans looking at ourselves as apart from nature, would see ourselves as a part of nature.
“This will help us know that whatever happens to nature and our life support system, we will be the first to be impacted and heavily.
“Humans, anatomically and physiologically are the least equipped to live on earth and the earlier we realise that the safer it will be for us.
“We do not have furs to cover our bare skin, no claws and no tails. So, if we do not protect nature to protect us, nature will protect itself but at our detriment.
“This is the message humans need to hear to re-calibrate their thinking,’’ Onoja said.https://nnn.ng/ncf-wants-environmental-considerations-factored-into-post-covid-19-recovery-plans/
Edo poll voter turnout decline worrisome in spite of credible conduct — CDD
Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), a pro democracy civil society organisation, has said that in spite of the general peaceful and credible conduct of the Edo election, it was worried over the decline in voters turnout for the election.
The group in its final observation report signed by CDD Director, Ms Idayat Hassan, and Head, Election Analysis Centre (EAC), Prof. Adele Jinadu, said that the credible conduct of the election was a refreshing development.
“The decline in voter turnout is pointed out as a trend, which would not augur well for the robust participation of the electorate, including marginalised groups.
“Backing this assertions with figures, CDD noted that in 2003, voter turnout stood at 78 per cent of 1,432,891 registered voters; In 2020 however, only 25.2 per cent of voters turned out to cast their ballot out of a registered number of 2,210,534.
“ CDD figures similarly showed a consistent decline in voter turnout from 78 per cent in 2003 to 40.5per cent in 2012, and further down to 32.3 per cent in 2016.
“CDD, therefore, expressed worries that the further decline in voter turnout in 2020, which came down to a low of 25.2 per cent could be read as a steady loss of faith in the electoral process, as well the entire democratic system of governance.”
Hassan said that CDD rated the conduct and outcome of the Sept. 19, 2020 governorship election in Edo as relatively credible, in spite of the challenges and infractions, which dogged the process.
She said that CDD deployed 250 stationary and roving observers to keep a close eye on key processes in the election and handed down its verdict in a final observation briefing.
She said that the Centre noted that the election was relatively peaceful when compared to other polls recently conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in spite of high vote buying .
“The peaceful conduct points the way away from the “degeneration” that has historically been the country’s sad experience with electoral outcomes, and towards outcomes that significantly reflect the mandate of the electorate.
“In this respect, the election potentially augurs well for the future of democracy and development in the country.
“This is particularly in view of the determination shown by the electorate to protect their mandate and ensure that it counted in the critical penultimate months to the election day. ‘’
Head, Election Analysis Centre (EAC), Prof. Adele Jinadu noted that the credible outcome of the election was due to the activities of various strategic stakeholders, particularly INEC and the peace-keeping efforts, the Oba of Benin and the Abdulsalam Abubakar-led National Peace Committee.
Jinadu said CDD, however, warned that there remained certain anomalies in the process, which if left unaddressed could turn the current euphoria into a mirage that would precipitate a reversal to the status quo ante.
He listed some of the issues as the controversial modality used for selecting the governorship candidates and the abuse of the power of incumbency for partisan party political advantage.
He added the general poverty in the state and the high unemployment rate that resulted in vote selling among others.
He said that although the group pointed out some malfunctioning of smart card readers, however, it acknowledged that the overall performance of INEC was smooth across the state.
He said that the group commend INEC for the introduction of the result viewing portal in improving transparency and accountability of the collation and declaration of results.
This, he said, enhanced citizens’ trust in the electoral process.
Jinadu said that CDD urged INEC to concentrate on the dual purpose of implementing its protocol on conducting elections during COVID 19 and improved voter education programme especially for other elections.
He said that there was need to reform the country’s party system to strengthen internal party democracy.
“This measure will ensure that political parties pay more attention to the nomination of women and the youth as candidates and have equal access to leadership opportunities within party organisations.
CDD further called on government and citizens to push to encourage compliance with Chapter II of the Nigerian Constitution and achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in order to curb poverty in the country.
Edited By: Donald Ugwu
Bayelsa begins 2021budget process, pledges citizens’ participation
The Bayelsa government on Monday said the 2021 budget would be driven by the citizens’ input and participation toward the utilisation of public funds based on the needs of the people.
Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa said that the government was poised to adopting best practices in budget process by engaging all stakeholders, which include the executive, legislature, civil society, labour, youths, women and community leaders, physically challenged amongst others.
Diri, who was represented by his Deputy, Mr Lawrence Ewrhudjakpo said that the state was adopting the citizen based approach in budgetary process for the second time.
“The Citizen’s Participation Budget Conference has been called in compliance with section 22(2) of the Fiscal Responsibility Law of 2009 (as amended) which states:
“The government shall direct citizen’s participation conference to be convened and cause the outcomes of the said conference, together with the view expressed to be published on the state website.
”Itis designed to ensure accountability and strong collaboration by all stakeholders in stewarding our communal resources.
“Indeed, in reviewing and approving the annual state budget, you play the vital role of guaranteeing that we apportion our resources sensibly and in accordance with our shared vision and values, with a view toward helping all our citizens thrive and prosper in a sustainable manner.
“Budget policy is therefore, mostly about planning. As Benjamin Franklin stated, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
“The impact of COVID 19 pandemic and the heavy toll it has taken on our inflows from federal allocations, means that the need to plan to diversify our economy has become more urgent,” Diri said.
He said that the government would focus on security, health, education and agriculture in the 2012 fiscal year for allocating resources among competing needs and plan for delivering on its promises and obligation to the citizens of Bayelsa.
Speaking earlier, Mr Akpoebidei Alamieyeseigha, the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning noted that the participation of citizens would eliminate the issue of duplicating projects and ensure value for money.
He said that the input of the people at the foundational non-technical stage was critical to the success of the next statues and urged the stakeholders to participate meaningfully in the process.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that representatives of several groups took turns to make contributions and the NEEDS Assessment during the interactive session segment.
Chief Joshua Igbugburu, the Monarch of Bomo clan in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa urged the state government to fund the Yenagoa-Poroma road project to connect the coastal communities.
Also Mrs Dise Ogbise, the Executive Director, DO Foundation, who spoke on behalf of the Civil Society commended the government for adopting a transparent approach by involving members of the public.
She pledged the support of civil society organisations in the state to the process.
Edited By: Grace Yussuf
NGO warns against monoculture plantation, illegal logging in C/River
An environmental Non Governmental Organisation, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, has warned multinational companies to desist from the practice of monoculture in other to save the biodiversity.
Dr Godwin Ojo, Executive Director of the organisation, gave the warning on Monday in Akampka local government area of the state during an event held to mark the 2020 International “no to monoculture” day.
Ojo explained that Sept. 21st was observed globally every year to draw attention to the impacts of monoculture plantations on the environment, conservation and livelihoods concerns of rural communities.
He, who was represented by Dr Matthew Olory, the volunteer coordinator of Community Forest Watch, said that “monoculture tree plantation is bad because of the high level chemical inputs such as herbicides and pesticides which put the world food system at great risk”.
He added that monoculture was also displacing small scale local farmers growing crops such as yam, cassava and plantain.
“The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria and its allies stand in solidarity with social movements, networks and communities to raise our voices of resistance against monoculture expansion that is increasing on a daily basis.
“No matter what, trees of similar species cannot make a forest. Therefore, the rich biodiversity associated with natural forests is lost in the case of monoculture such as oil palm plantations.
“The expansion is also endangering biodiversity such as butterflies and bees.
“Also, the pandrillus monkeys and chimpanzees in Cross River and the slaters guenon and elephants in Okomu forest reserve in Edo have come under severe threat due to palm oil plantations.
“We also raise our voices of resistance against the increasing illegal logging of trees.
“The appropriation of community lands by government to make way for monoculture agro commodities that serves the interest of big agribusiness multinational companies and to the detriment of the impacted communities,” he said.
He urged government at all levels and multinational companies to put “people first” rather than profit.
Speaking, a Director from the state Forestry Commission, Dr Ekpeyong Ita, said the issue of monoculture has been a major threat of biodiversity in the state.
Ita stressed that if monoculture is allowed to go on, it would destroy the biodiversity and make the state lose its virgin forests.
He called for a concerted effort from all individuals and stakeholders in protecting the forests.
The Controller of National Park in Cross River, Mrs Caroline Olory, said that the state has the largest of the remaining rainforest in Nigeria.
Olory, who maintained that forest preservation should be collective, called for the sustainability in the fight against deforestation in the state.
Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Ismail Abdulaziz
Darey Art Alade drops new EP ‘Way Home’
The Multi-platinum selling artiste, songwriter and entertainer, Darey Art Alade, shocked fans on Monday when he released his new Extended Play (EP) project, ‘Way Home’.
The ‘Pray for Me’ crooner had been dropping new music projects back to back since August when he broke his five-year hiatus with the hot single, ‘Jah Guide Me’.
Leading the EP is a tune with Patoranking titled ‘Jojo’ which is available to stream on all online platforms.
Announcing the project in an endearing message to fans via his social media, Darey said, “After a lot of sweat and sleepless nights in the kitchen, my brand new EP, ‘Way Home’ is finally ready.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that in August, the singer released a Pheelz-produced single, ‘Jah Guide Me’.
Speaking on the inspiration behind the song, he said, “Just like many of you, 2020 has so far, brought a handful of uncertainties on my way.
“But the fact is that God isn’t surprised. So I guess it’s up to all of us to submit and be led,” he wrote on his Instagram page.
Darey’s last released two singles ‘Asiko Laiye’ (Remix), featured Olamide and ‘Pray For Me’ featured Soweto Gospel Choir in 2015. Both tracks were instant hits.
Darey released his fifth studio album titled Naked in October 2015.
The 13-track album comprised afrobeat, soul, and R&B collaborations with Asa, Olamide and the multiple Grammy award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir.
The ‘Not the Girl’ singer is also a coach on singing competition, The Voice Nigeria.
The seasoned vocalist will officially join other music stars such as Waje, Yemi Alade and Falz on the panel.
He also runs Livespot, a Lagos-based integrated Communications firm with offices in Abuja, along with his wife, Deola.
Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Donald Ugwu