By Emma Amaize, Asaba
Delta State government has carried out forensic analysis of residents of oil communities in the state in collaboration with University College, London, to evaluate their health and obtain statistics, following an avalanche of complaints and petitions by communities over pollution of their environment and despoliation.
Deputy Governor of Delta state, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, who disclosed this at Asaba while declaring open the 2019 Conference/AGM of Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria, APWEN, an offshoot of Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE, said government was expecting the research results from the University College London to determine its next line of action.
He bemoaned that Delta and the entire Niger Delta region were facing environmental pollution and despoliation, which needed immediate remediation and urged the engineers to assist in finding a solution to the problems,
Otuaro asserted: “In recent times, we had problems in our environment, as you are very much aware, Delta State is an oil and gas producing state and only lately we received a lot of petitions and protests from many oil-producing communities over environmental despoliation and oil bunkering activities, which have destroyed the aquatic life of the people. “
His words: ‘After government received the petitions, I undertook an aerial overview of the affected communities, what I saw was disgusting, the entire communities have been so devastated and this is unacceptable.
“We have even gone further to have the forensic analysis of the immediate occupants of the despoiled environment and the research is on. In no distant time, we will be receiving the results of those data and research from the University College, London, which of course will also have value for the preparation for the international conference on how we can make better our environment “he stated
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According to him, “The devastation of the environment is not complimentary to comfortable living especially in the creeks”
He told the engineers, “It is not only the timing of your visit and convention that is significant, the theme of your convention ‘The Dynamics of Environmental Change: Impact of Engineering’ is immediately important to us Delta, as a state, nay the Niger Delta region.”
“It is our hope that you concern yourselves now or very soon in contributing to knowledge on how to go beyond stopping environmental pollution and achieving environmental remediation in the Niger Delta.
“Technological value to our people is critical, we believe that gone are the days where people get dumped from their various institutions of learning and are giving their A4 papers, which they cannot translate into bettering their families. It cannot translate into adding values to them and members of their families,” he said.
The deputy governor asserted, “Engineers are met to solve technological problems and add values to our environment and economy. That is why we have placed high preference for technical and vocational education and ensuring that our technical schools are given a facelift and their curriculum upgraded”.
“We have actually placed preference on technical and vocation education and when we came into government in 2015, we established technical and vocation board charged with the responsibility of ensuring that technical schools are reconstructed and giving a face-lift. As at then, we had six technical colleges in the state and it is easy to note that all of them have been reconstructed and upgraded and the curricular of the schools also been approved by the authorities”
“We believe very strongly that it will add value to our wealth and job creation for the people as a government. And that, of course, has paid off and only recently we have also in Exco approved the construction of 19 more technical colleges to add to the six already existing ones with a view that one for each of the 25 local government areas.
“These are our prayers that when that is done, we would have been able to establish Delta on the course of scientific development. Like the President of this body said that engineers solve problems and add value to the economy, I hope that all of these efforts would add value to the overall economic development and solving problems in our society,” he said.
Earlier in her address, the President of APWEN, Engr. Dr. Felicia Nnenna Agubata stated that the Association considered this year’s theme apt given their circumstances globally from whatever angle one chose to look at it.