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AKSG TO EMBRACE SOIL MANAGEMENT REFORMS

 

-As Ekong Sampson Canvasses Enforcement Through Legal Framework

 

By Paulinus Nnah

 

Sequel to calls by various stakeholders on environmental and soil management questions, the Akwa Ibom State government, through the state Ministry of Environment and Petroleum Resources, has said that it would embrace soil management reforms that will usher in control mechanism that would bring about the desired healthy environment for all.

 

Stating this in this year’s World Soil Day Celebration which was held at the Uniuyo Permanent Site last Thursday, December 12, 2019, the Hon. Commissioner for Environment and Petroleum Resources, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Ekong Sampson, stressed that all issues adding up to widespread environmental challenges have become a global phenomenon.

 

While advising that matters of soil management and climate change concerns should not be left to government alone to handle, Barr. Ekong Sampson cautioned against tying issues of climate change to superstition, saying “We therefore need to deepen the awareness on these issues, that the various environmental hazards experienced in our state and in our country have become a global phenomenon.”

 

He roundly applauded various remarks and presentations at the occasion themed “Stop Soil Erosion, Save Our Future”, saying they “were very rich, especially as it has to do with prescriptive elements and the need to use them all to drive reforms. A number of legal instruments were also identified here.”

 

Also responding to various position papers proffered at the event, Sampson noted that “one thing is very clear, we need reforms to drive what we are doing; reform from a legal framework, reform even from our attitude.

 

“I was very interested when attention was given about the role of our communities’ involvement in fighting erosion. It’s very very key. We must involve everybody.”

 

While canvassing for what he termed as “Prompt Response Mechanism (PRM)”, he upheld the position of one of the speakers that government should not allow what began as minor concern to become compounded such as the present appalling erosion incidents experienced in the state.

 

Barr. Ekong Sampson hinted that the state government is enjoying the confidence of World Bank in fighting erosion, while declaring that through the framework of Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) the state government is intervening as much as possible.

 

He stated that the best contracting firms have shown interest to construct or re-construct IBB Ave., adding that the state government has given approval for award of the erosion and flood contract at Anua and Etim Umana, and that very soon contractors will move to site.

 

The Hon. Commissioner announced that intervention will soon come for Wellington Bassey Way Correction Centre fence from the federal government, saying “We’re working closely with the federal government and the World Bank on this and many other issues.”

 

He appealed to the academic community in the university to feel the need for close collaboration through inputs and visits to his office, saying that “we can’t afford to sleep while creating problems for the next generation.”

 

Earlier at the function, speaker after speaker corroborated the view that while soil erosion can occur naturally, human activities would always make matters worse.

 

They maintained that for positive change to be effected at specific flood-prone sites around Uyo Metropolis, especially Uruan Street, the drainage design would have to be redone to accommodate current environmental realities.

 

The paper presenters identified numerous causes, such as: building of structures on water passage ways and around ravines, dredging the waters for sand and gravels, massively cutting down trees, etc.

 

While calling on government to also pay attention to rural settings with the view to checking various environmental hazards plaguing many interior localities, the speakers recognized the importance of eradicating of poverty in the land, without which, they maintained, the activities of poor population on the environment by way of looking for available means of livelihood and survival, will continue to degrade the environment to the detriment of all.

 

Present at the event which drew experts and major stakeholders in the field of environment and soil management, and students, include the Hon. Commissioner for Environment and Petroleum Matters, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Ekong Sampson; Dr. Mark Johnson, the PS, Min. of Agric. and Women Affairs, representing the Hon. Commissioner for Agric and Women Affairs, Dr. Glory Edet; the VC, Uniuyo, Prof. Enefiok Essien, who was represented by the DVC, Uniuyo, Prof. Ndaeyo; Prof. Trinchard Okon Ibia.

 

Others are: Prof. Imoh Ukpong; Prof. Charles Uko; Prof. A.F. Alonge; Dr. Charles Udosen; and a host of others.

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