$1bn required annually to check environmental challenges in Nigeria

A Shell worker brandishing a machete during an oil spill clean up20 August 2013, Abuja – Nigeria needs a minimum of one billion dollars annually to implement an integrated plan to address environmental challenges in the country, a professor of Climatology, Emmanuel Oladipo, has said.

Oladipo Abuja on Tuesday said that Nigeria needed to be consistent in tackling environmental problems by investing adequate funds in the sector.

He expressed regret that Nigeria had not been able to come up with an approved national integrated plan of action for management of the environment.

According to him, all kinds of programmes and projects across the country need to be situated in a coherent manner to get the desired results.

He underscored the need to identify the environmental problems and map out strategies to address them. In addition, he urged the three tiers of government to allocate adequate funds to solve these problems.

“If we want to solve them, we need a minimum of one billion dollars every year for the next 10 or 15 years to tackle these problems coherently.

“Everybody is now talking about floods; if we are not careful, we now forget about other environmental problems because a lot of resources are allocated to floods alone.

“By the time you realise it, it will no longer be floods in the next two years, it could be another thing.

“Environment is a very complex system and it is interlinked; so you have to look at it from that point of view and develop a holistic approach that will show synergy.

“So that as you are tackling erosion, you are tackling desertification but in a very coherent manner not on contract basis.’’

The expert said that Nigeria needed to address environment issues in a very comprehensive manner.

He noted that a lot of resources had been channelled toward the management of erosion without much impact.

He, however, noted that Nigeria would have been able to address the 2012 flooding, if the country had applied what he called the integrated flood management strategy.

The expert said that the strategy would check the whole length of Benue and Niger Rivers and look at possible massive flood areas and what could be done to mitigate it.

He, therefore, called on the River Basin Development Authorities to look for ways of coordinating the states in their catchment areas, to effectively manage their water resources.

“States can come together to address flooding because rivers have no boundary, so integrated approach is the way out, they must work together.

“We must create systems that will allow sustainable systematic and coherent management of the system of the environment,’’ he said.
Oladipo, who also is a member of Board of Trustees of the Climate Change Network Nigeria, urged the stakeholders to support the Federal Government’s efforts in mitigating the impact of climate change.

He called for a coordinated and collaborative effort to tackle the complex climate change phenomenon, stressing the need for adequate planning, research and awareness creation to mitigate its impact.

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