Expert Tasks FG On Niger Delta Environmental Degradation | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Expert Tasks FG On Niger Delta Environmental Degradation

Niger Delta
Posted: Jun 13, 2016 at 6:13 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Innocent Oweh

ABUJA – John Ogungbenro, an environmental expert, has advised the Federal Government to look beyond the persistent agitations of the Niger Delta people by taking a holistic assessment of the environmental degradation in the region.

He said their agitations, which may connote political undertone in some sections of the country because of oil being the economic mainstay of the country, could also pass for a genuine call for attention to years of devastation of economic livelihood of the people in the region.

He lauded the Federal Government’s initiative to commence the clean-up of Ogoni land, noting that attempts to restore the basic means of livelihood of the people may be a way of identifying with the needs of the people and addressing them.

In an exclusive chat with the Independent, on Sunday, in Abuja, Ogungbenro also highlighted the ills in the depletion of the ozone layer owing to poor environmental lifestyles.

“When you talk of the clean-up of Ogoni land to some it sounds a bit political but also not because it affects all of us.
“I think the clean-up exercise that the Federal Government has commenced is a good initiative because if we take a retrospective view about the people who are agitating for the Niger Delta, they are not just agitating for nothing.

“Their environment is severely polluted and it’s becoming highly unproductive.

“The lifestyle of many of them is purely aqua-culture, they live on what is produced in the environment, they live on the swamps, they live on the streams, they live on the mangrove forest, they live on what the environment can produce and this environment has been severely destroyed and depleted which means the resources they harness from it to make their own living is going away.

“One, the land cannot grow again crops like cassava and other things; secondly, fishes they caught and harvest are no longer there, while the water they drink is no longer available. If they decide to drink the same water they are going to be poisoned and their lives would be cut short.

“Basically, what the Federal Government has outlined to do is a laudable step in the right direction: that we are feeling your plight, we are feeling your agitation by committing ourselves to the clean-up of Ogoni land.

“If Ogoni land is cleaned up, the nation too is cleaned up and that too will spread to other areas of Nigeria to show that we need a clean-up environment for sustainable development, so it’s a good initiative for us as a nation,” Ogungbenro noted.

On sustainability of the ecosystem, he said government should go beyond paying lip services to environmental issues by implementing most of the international conventions so far outlined at the continental level.

“The atmosphere is just an envelope of gases and it occurs in consecutive layers and the lowest layer of the atmosphere where man lives is called the troposphere.

“The troposphere is where the climate is domiciled, the rainfall, temperature, cloud system, sunshine every element of the climate is based in the atmosphere, which is troposphere at the lowest layer.

“There is a thin layer separating the troposphere and the stratosphere and it is called ozone layer, the function of the ozone is to act like a shield to protect the layer where man lives.

“That ozone layer is being depleted gradually, by standard design we are supposed to receive 51 percent of the sun’s radiation but now we are receiving close to 60 percent in some places”.