The governor of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, has called on the Federal Government to expedite action towards ensuring the dredging of the River Niger and River Benue, and also building holding dams to stem the menace of flooding in Nigeria.
Okowa said this had become necessary following the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) flood projection for 2023 which was expected to be bigger than that of 2022.
He made this call in his keynote address at a side event of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate change (UNFCCC) held recently in Egypt by Nurses Across Borders International in Collaboration with the Delta State Government, under the leadership of Pastor Peters Omoragbon, the Executive President.
The theme of the event was: ‘Building Healthy and Resilient Communities in Africa to Combat Climate Change Crisis’.
“The NIMET flood projection for 2023 is expected to be bigger than that of 2022. It is hoped that the Federal Government will consider dredging the River Niger and River Benue as well as building holding dams to cushion the effect of flooding in the country,” he said.
Okowa who was represented at the occasion by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Delta State, Dr. Mininim Ibiere Oseji, spoke on the ‘Role of Government in Building Resilient Communities and Climate Resilient Health System in the Niger Delta in the Wake of the Recent Flooding in Nigeria.’
The Governor said that climate change was a global phenomenon caused by the release of greenhouse gases (GHGS) such as carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere due to anthropogenic activities which include deforestation, burning of fossil fuel to power homes, engines and industries etc. leading to global warming.
He added, that the socio-economic impact and consequences of climate change included increased risk and uncertainty in agricultural production leading to food insecurity, flooding, heat-related mortality and morbidity, respiratory diseases such as lung cancer, asthma, bronchitis as well reproductive problems.
Okowa also lamented, the stalling of agricultural productivity leads to malnutrition particularly in women and children which increases their vulnerability to ill health.
Speaking on Delta State’s efforts in implementing mitigation and adaptation of climate change actions, Okowa disclosed that Delta State had embarked on a number of projects to enhance ecosystem of planted forests through Sustainable Forest Management (SFM), Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) and Governance Innovation (GI).
He said “These projects are aimed at reducing land degradation, conserving biodiversity, improving ecosystem services and mitigating Climate Change,” adding “it is well known that carbon capture is crucial for mitigation as trees have the capacity to mop up and store substantial quantity of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) in their biomass.”
Some of the state’s priority projects relating to climate change, according to Okowa include promoting low emission development strategy (LEDS) in the state; Development of air quality measurement sensors to major cities in Delta State; Climate change research/vulnerability assessment; and Climate change education/dissemination of climate information
Other measures include tree planting action plan, adoption of the territorial approach to climate change (TACC) and re-channeling of flared gases into power generation and production of diversified cooking gas.