Abuja – An elders statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, and some delegates at the ongoing National Conference have called for a pragmatic approach to tackle environmental challenges in the country.
The delegates made their positions known on Monday in Abuja while commenting on the report of the Conference Committee on Environment.
They underscored the urgent need for the development of the environment and the payment of compensation to communities that had suffered environmental pollution over the years.
Clark called for the cleaning of those areas, particularly communities in the Niger Delta region which had been polluted due to exploration activities.
“We, in the riverine areas, sit on drums of water but we have no water to drink or to cook.
“When I was young, all I needed to do was to put a plate or a pot inside water and fishes will come inside.
“Today, I observe that my people now eat iced fish, which was never known in our area before the exploration of oil.
“Even the mango trees that were very strong are all withering away; the ecosystem is bad; there is nothing we have in our area again, including farming.
“Recently, Chevron equipment in the area got burnt and the fire went on for three months.
‘’Up till today, the host community affected has been begging Chevron to pay them some compensation,” he said.
Another delegate, Dr Abiola Akiyode, a delegate representing Civil Society Organisations, underscored the need to build the capacity of courts in the country, to properly handle environmental issues.
She equally proposed greater participation of women in the planning and management of issues concerning the environment.
“There is the need to build the capacity of our courts to handle environmental issues.
“I also propose greater participation of women and other key groups in the planning, management and preservation of the environment and sustainable use of natural resources at all levels,” she said.
On his part, Mr Godswill Iyoke, a delegate representing Christian leaders, called for the prohibition of indiscriminate sinking of boreholes because of its adverse effects on the soil.
“There should be prohibition of indiscriminate sinking of boreholes because of its adverse effect on boreholes.”
In the same vein, Dr Hannatu Ibrahim, a delegate representing Gombe State, said adequate attention should be paid to states, particularly Gombe State that faced problems of erosion and flooding.
“Gombe is one of the states faced with the problem of erosion, flood disaster and the resettling of refugees.
“This has added to maternal mortality rate because they are faced with diseases because of poor hygiene,’’ she said. (NAN)