By Harris Emanuel
Akwa Ibom State government has said that it would continue to take proactive steps in combating climate change as it was gathering data on wetlands in the state to boost the opportunities in agriculture and tourism, thus converting wetlands to wealth lands.
Commissioner for Environment and Petroleum Resources, Ekong Sampson, who disclosed this said, the state government was working in partnership with World Bank on some major erosion and flood sites in the state and was prepared for the realities.
Sampson, a former lawmaker, stated this while inaugurating the state Technical Committee on Climate Change, explaining that it was an environmental problem that cuts across critical sectors of the economy.
He added that scientific evidence had shown that climate change was aggravating already existing environmental issues such as deforestation, land degradation, freshwater shortage, food security, air and water pollution.
The committee’s terms of reference include to develop strategic framework for climate change actions in line with Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contributions, NDCs, and Paris Climate Agreement, to build capacity of various stakeholders on the issues of climate change and resilient economic development of the state to mainstream climate change issues in the state’s development programmes and plans, to source for financial support from domestic and international agencies for programmes in the state.
The commissioner said: “We must move climate change beyond superstition as it is a reality confronting us in Africa. Akwa Ibom State is under pressure over flood and erosion and measures are being put in place here to combat climate change.”
Thanking Governor Udom Emmanuel for supporting proactive measures to mitigate the situation, he reiterated that the administration recognises that unless a good response strategy was developed and judiciously implemented, climate change may negate development efforts and one of such measures is the development of a road map for sustainable (green) and Resilient Economic Development of Akwa Ibom State from 2016- 2030.
In his response, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Nsudo Nsudo, charged members of the committee to live up to their expectations, as the matter at hand needs so much sensitisation and publicity.