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Connected Development Highlights Environmental Concerns in Akwa Ibom State, Seeks Government Partnership for Intervention

Connected Development Highlights Environmental Concerns in Akwa Ibom State, Seeks Government Partnership for Intervention

CODE’s Team with the Ministry’s leadership

By Ekemini Simon

Connected Development (CODE), a non-governmental organization with a mission to empower marginalized communities in Africa has highlighted environmental concerns that need urgent State Government intervention in Akwa Ibom.

In a courtesy visit to the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources on Tuesday, CODE through the Akwa Ibom State Team Lead, Comrade Ubong Ekpe offered insight into some practices that have heightened the impact of  climate change in the State.

The State Team Lead noted in his presentation that most industries, hotels and homes disposed of their waste sludge indiscriminately hence pollute the environment.

He noted that it has become a common practice for waste evacuators who pick waste, especially toilet waste to dump it in water bodies. He noted that this is not only harmful to the environment but has the potential to cause disease outbreaks.

Ekpe who also called on government intervention in some coastal communities in Akwa Ibom State affected by sea level rise noted that it was time the State Government coupled with the citizens probe into how gas flare fines prescribed by the Petroleum Industry Act to be used for environmental remediation funds for host communities is managed by Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission.

Ekpe asked the State Government to be more interested in how gas flaring could be ended by pushing for the implementation of gas flare elimination plan as provided for by section 108 of the Petroleum Industry Act.

He said this can be done by engagement between the ministry and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission Including the oil companies operating in Akwa Ibom State.

The State Team Lead of CODE equally called on the government of Akwa Ibom State to appropriately utilise ecological funds paid to the State monthly through the federation account and also partner with the Niger Delta Development Commission on effective utilisation of ecological funds deducted from both the State and local government allocation.

CODE’s State Team Lead in a presentation to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry.

Ekpe used the opportunity to share some of the grants that could be accessed by the ministry to include; The Global fund – for climate crises, Green Climate fund designed to support transition from fossil fuel to green energy, Adaptation fund to find relief for those affected by environmental disaster among others. 

In response, the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Environment and Mineral Resources, Chief Uno Uno expressed readiness to partner with Connected Development for initiatives that will help the ministry achieve its mandate.

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Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs. Iquo Abia, the Commissioner commended CODE for the initiatives of partnership and recommendations shared.

The Commissioner assured that the Ministry will work with relevant federal government agencies to ensure the gas flare elimination plan is prioritised hence assisting to restore the environment and health of communities deeply affected by gas flaring.

The Commissioner assured that the Akwa Ibom State Environmental management bill pending at the State Assembly will address issues of waste management since the bill is holistic in nature.

In an interaction with newsmen immediately after the visit, the State Team Lead of Connected Development said as a result of the visit, the organization now has a new task of following through with the State Assembly on the bill to ensure it is passed into law.

He said ” From our interaction with the Ministry, we understood that there is no holistic law to tackle waste management in line with international best practice. We will follow through with the State Assembly to know the status of the bill and understand how we can collaborate with the ministry to see it is passed.” 

Meanwhile, the visit to Ministries, Departments and Agencies for environmental interventions by Connected Development is an offshoot of the organization’s Community Media Collaboration for Climate Justice project supported by Oxfam.

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