Bayelsa State Government has announced plans to develop a flood master plan in the State as part of measures to safeguard the environment and prevent the recurrence of the 2012 flood disaster.
Speaking in Yenagoa on Saturday at the 5th Environment Outreach Lecture and Environmental Awards ceremony, the Commissioner for the Environment in the State, Mr. Iniruo Wills said: “We are committed to the safety of environment and we will use all at our disposal to ensure that we come together to do our best to protect the environment. “We are going to develop flood master plan to tackle the problems posed by floods in the State. Government alone cannot tackle flooding hence a call on Bayelsans to stand by the government. It is the concern of everyone to sustain the environment for generations yet unborn.”
He lamented that the rivers in the State had been polluted because of environmental degradation stating that the State government would develop ways of resolving issues bordering on environmental pollution by oil companies in the State. The commissioner further observed that some oil companies were emptying effluents into the environment adding that the development was drastically affecting the ecosystem. “We are inviting oil companies in the State to do a thorough assessment of damage to our environment but where this amicable option is not accepted, we are going to use every power at our disposal to compel the oil industry and other industry players to do the right.”
In his remarks, Publisher of Environment Outreach magazine, Chief Noble Akenge, saidÂ more attention should be paid to climate change. He called on the Federal Government to intervene in issues of environmental degradation and to discourage people from engaging in indiscriminate logging. Akenge noted that the theme of the lecture, ‘Climate Change and its Effect on the Coastal Communities in Nigeria’ was chosen against the backdrop of 2012 floods that ravaged the country and the State. He lamented that the issue of climate change had been taken for granted in the country, saying it had resulted in poor consumption habits, burning of fossils fuel, blocking of drains, among others.
In her remarks, Prof. Aiyebatimi Spiff, called on the Niger Delta Development Commission to give the people beautiful coastlines compared to what obtains in the Western world. “We have floods around our homes; we are the perpetrators of these floods. We throw garbage which disrupts free flow of waters. Environment devastation is real and we are not doing enough to check the trend,” she said.
The former Military Governor of old Rivers State, King Alfred Diete-Spiff,Â Bayelsa Commissioner for Information, Mr. Markson Fefegha and former Military Administrator of Yobe State, Group Captain John Ben-Kalio (rtd.) were among the dignitaries in attendance.