Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor has expressed support for the establishment of a National Institute of Environmental Studies, as that would help in competency of handling the various aspects of climate change, the ecosystems.
He noted that the institute, if established, would also provide necessary expertise for certification of practitioners and the much-needed manpower to address various environmental challenges in the country.
The minister said this when the national president of the Nigerian Environmental Society, NES, Dr. Dorothy Bassey and her team paid a courtesy visit to her office.
Speaking further, Ikeazor assured the NES president of the ministry’s readiness to collaborate with the society in the protection and conservation of the environment, implementation of the recently approved National Solid Waste Management Policy, the National Forestry Policy and the National Gender Action Plan on Climate Change.
“The National Gender Action Plan on Climate Change is to mainstream gender into Climate Change Action that would further create jobs for women, youths and other vulnerable Nigerians,” the Minister emphasised.
She said as part of environmental remediation, the federal government was committed to the restoration and protection of the mangroves across the country, as she called for expertise and collaboration from the Nigerian Environmental Society, NES, to further deepen the knowledge and the creation of awareness among Nigerians on the numerous benefits of the ecosystems.
She decried the situation where Nigeria with about 11,600sq of coastline, spanning from Bakkasi peninsular in Cross River State to Badagry in Lagos State do not have one per cent of Marine Protected Areas.
Enumerating the actions taken by the ministry on environmental protection, Ikeazor disclosed that the ministry was at the point of amending the NOSDRA Act, saying that in the amendment that is being put together, the National Environmental Society had been listed as a member of the NOSDRA Board.
She promised to renew her earlier appeal at the appropriate time to Mr President, which she made upon her assumption of duty, to grant assent to the NOSDRAS Act, saying that as the environmental regulator of oil and gas activities in the country, NOSDRA requires all the legal and administrative backing to operate successfully.
The minister added that environmental degradation in the Niger Delta, especially the Port Harcourt soot, the Artisanal refining and the ‘kpo-fire’, are all as a result of inadequate regulations and non-compliance with Environmental Impact Assessment.
In her speech, Bassey said the visit was in pursuance of the society’s resolve to intimate the ministry of their activities, seek an avenue for partnership and collaboration in the protection of the environment and advocacy, as well as to serve as a vehicle to disseminate the ministry’s messages and policies to the grassroots.
The Permanent Secretary, Abel Olumuyiwa Enitan, in his remarks commended the society for taking interest in the ministry’s activities and their commitment to environmental issues and welcomes the offer for partnership.
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