Senate urges FG to mitigate environmental challenge

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The Senate on Tuesday in Abuja passed a resolution urging the Federal Government to ensure effective use of Ecological Funds to mitigate ecological challenge in the country.

The senate also urged the government to undertake aggressive shoreline protection of coastal areas in the country.

The resolution followed a motion moved by Sen. Emmanuel Paulker (PDP-Bayelsa) on Ocean Surge in Coastal Areas and its Consequences for Coastal Dwellers.

Paulker informed the senate that some residents of coastal communities in Bayelsa and Delta States had been displaced by rising ocean waves.

 

He said the waves submerged the communities and destroyed the sources of their livelihood.

He attributed the cause of the disaster to the activities of some oil companies.

“These communities trace the origin of their woes to the unmitigated impact of the explosion and fire which occurred in January 2012 on the oil rig owned by Chevron.

“The explosion could result in a calamity if nothing is done to mitigate its impact and other consequent seismic implications’’, he said.

Contributing to the motion, Sen. Ayogu Eze (PDP-Enugu state), called on the relevant government agencies to enforce the laws against oil companies that breached guidelines on environmental impact assessments.

“It shows that Nigerians who are supposed to check these oil companies are not doing their work.

“The oil companies have to increase their humanitarian activities to mitigate ocean surges’’, he said.

Sen. Ahmed Lawan (APC-Yobe) blamed ecological challenges ravaging different parts of the country on misapplication of ecological funds by the various tiers of government.

He urged the government to seek assistance from other countries that have successfully addressed similar ecological challenges in their environment.

“It is time for the senate to insist that ecological funds are only deployed to mitigate ecological challenges and not for selfish political purposes.

“It is time for Nigeria to partner with other countries that have contended with similar challenges to help us out of this problem’’, he said.

Sen. Ita Enang (PDP-Akwa Ibom), urged the senate to investigate the matter to ascertain whether ocean surge had any link to oil exploration.

“I don’t want us to take this as an ordinary matter caused by ocean surge.

“We should investigate this matter very seriously because it could be earth tremor or sinking of the earth as a result of exploration activities of oil companies’, he said.

Sen. Helen Esuene (PDP-Akwa Ibom) stressed the need for government to protect Nigeria’s mangrove forests by regulating the activities of loggers who are depleting the Eco-system.

“Climate change is here with us and we need to protect our mangrove forests by regulating the activities of loggers because trees serve as our first line of defence against ocean surge’’, Esuene noted.

Deputy President of Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over plenary, urged the three tiers of government to look into issues affecting the coastal areas.

He urged the relevant agencies to commence immediate deployment of relief materials to the affected areas in order to alleviate the suffering of the victims of the recent ocean surge.

“Our appropriate committee needs to investigate who receive ecological funds and how they are applied.

“The government at different levels needs to show more interest regarding our coastal lines in order to save lives and property of our people who live there.

“We sympathise with the victims of ocean surge and believe that the agencies concerned would go there as quickly as possible to help to alleviate their sufferings’’, Ekweremadu added.

The senators called on the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Ecological Fund Office of the Federation and other relevant agencies to send relief materials to victims of the ocean surge. (NAN)

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