Kogi Needs More Attention from FG on Environment – Osikoya

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Kogi State Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Mrs Rosemary Ojochenemi-Osikoya has said that it will be beneficial to Nigeria as a nation if greater attention was placed on the state when it concerns issues of the environment.

Kogi was one of 23 states of the federation present at the 2017 National Council Environment is Nigeria’s highest policy making body on the environment.

At the event, the Kogi commissioner spoke to newsmen on the significance of the state, saying that its capital, Lokoja where the confluence Nigeria’s two longest rivers, Benue and Niger, is located, needed special attention regarding federal interventions on the environment.

“River Niger and River Benue combine in Lokoja and from there it flows to more states and into the Atlantic. Sometimes you find out that when attention is paid to pollution, the significance of places like Lokoja is not observed. For instance, you find that NOSDRA made a presentation (at the NCE) about oil pollution and how bad those waste oils are. But if you look at a small town like Lokoja, that is sitting right beside the confluence, with a not-well-managed waste problem over the years where all kinds of waste are dumped into the confluence and then waste oils are also dumped into the confluence, you begin to wonder if Lokoja, being the first administrative capital of Nigeria which is over a century old which just two hours from the FCT, the nation is not blind to such spots? That becomes a national emergency!

“So Kogi State is presenting memos to the council saying declare a state of emergency on environmental health in Kogi State, because we find we are having pollution from extractive industries and activities. If you say there is poisoning of artisans in Lokoja for instance; Ajaokuta-Lokoja bounds the River Niger confluence, and if you now have that, what does that tell you? That lead poisoning would not be in some isolated communities. It will pass into waters that go into all the rest of the unsuspecting communities that surround it.

“So on issues of environmental health, you hear that it was making waves in the media. Then it means it becomes a national priority to strengthen environmental health is such places like Lokoja. If the Federal Government has areas to prioritise attention, is it going to be Kogi State or somewhere else?

“So from an environmental point of view, the issue is of national urgency for us at this time. The FG needs to pay more attention to Kogi State for impact. That is the point we are trying to make.”

Credit: Tribune

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