Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide has warned of impending natural disasters in the country following lack of interest by the Federal Government to conserve the country’s wetland resources.
The council said already natural violence caused by floods had become a recurrent decimal because the government failed to take deliberate steps to preserve natural defences in the country’s wetland.
The President of IYC Peter Igbifa who stated this in a statement to mark the 60th Independence of Nigeria, said it was unfortunate that at 60, the country still condone some dangerous environmental activities like gas flaring which is depleting the ecosystem and eroding wetland assets.
“Could it be that the Federal Government is not interested in wetland preservation because the country’s wetland is situated in the Niger Delta, which is rated as the third largest wetland in the world?
“The government should know that preserving Niger Delta wetland is for the overall interest of the country because wetland protects a country from natural disasters and lack of its preservation is the reason we have started experiencing strange flood disasters” he said.
According to him Nigeria is a signatory to an international treaty which agreed to protect wetland assets in the Niger Delta region.
He said: “I will bring your attention to the Nigeria participation in international treaty on wetland conservation in 1971. All these countries that have wetland gathered in Iran in a place called Ramsa, the biggest wetland in Southeast Asia. Thy signed a treaty for wetland conservation in the whole world.
“Niger Delta is the only prominent wetland here in Africa. It is also the third largest wetland in the world. The biggest wetland, the Amazon wetland in Brazil is recently impacted by climate change. You can see the wildfire eating up the entire ecosystem and wildlife in the Amazon
While lamenting the further abuse of the Niger Delta by the devastating practice of gas flaring in 150 sites in the region, he said all the carbon emissions from flared gas had depleted the ozone layer leading to perennial flooding in the region especially in Bayelsa State.
The IYC boss seize the opportunity to call on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to immediately commence the payments of contractors, with verifiable evidence of project execution.
He regretted that the commission was owing many contractors that had done their job saying the development had deepened poverty and unemployment in the region.
The IYC boss appealed to Ijaw youths to remain resolute, calm and peaceful as his administration would engage the government on all environmental and other issues affecting the region.