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Senate raises alarm over desertification, erosion and flooding

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By Henry Umoru

ABUJA- THE Senate, yesterday, raised alarm over the growing rate of environmental threats of desertification in the North, devastating hydraulic coastal erosion in the East and high level of flooding in the West.

According to the Senate, if serious urgent attention was not taken by the Federal Government, the country stands the risk of being choked by these environmental hazards.

In a statement signed by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, Senator Bukola Saraki, as part of activities to mark this year’s World Environment day, the Senate vowed to ensure that there was a very stringent oversight mechanism on the 2012 Budget implementation for the Environment Ministry, its Departments, Parastatals and agencies, adding that the move will ensure that money meant for projects were utilized effectively and efficiently.

Saraki who noted that desertification alone eats up about six kilometres of arable annually in the northern part of the country, stressed that this year’s celebration was significant as it comes at a time of the year when the world was getting prepared for the Earth Summit and when it appears that the European fiscal instability challenge seems to caste a shadow on the celebration.

According to him, the celebration should help bring out the growing vulnerability of Africa to environmental challenges especially climate change and the need for all countries to act positively and fast if a global framework must be created for the tackling of these challenges.

Senator Saraki who recommended that a framework for green economy development through technology transfer and the adoption of a holistic mitigation policy for the H said: “In the mist of these challenges however, Nigeria has great potential to leverage on to create a green economy through clean energy development. Let us resolve to immediately tackle gas flaring and cleaning up of decades of oil spills in the Niger Delta. I ask you all to join hands with us to raise the Nigerian green wall to challenge desertification to standstill. Let us bring gully erosion to a halt through watershed management and save our collective ecology.”

He said that as part of the Senate’s move to address these problems, the lawmakers are “doing our best to create the necessary legislative structure to successfully guide us through”, adding that the committee has initiated a Bill on gas flaring prohibition to accelerate the immediate stoppage of gas flaring in the country, just as a Bill to deal with oil spill and degradation of the Niger Delta area was initiated through an amendment of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) Act 2006.

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