The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has called for collaboration among stakeholders to tackle the challenges of pollution and reverse the environmental degradation in the region.
The NDDC Interim Administrator, Dr. Efiong Akwa, made the call on Wednesday during the second meeting of the Niger Delta Environment Consultative Forum hosted by the Commission in Port Harcourt.
According to a statement by the NDDC, Akwa who was represented by his Special Assistant, Technical, Engr. Ubongabasi James, noted that environmental degradation was an issue that affects everyone irrespective of socio-economic status and called for a collaborative approach to proffering solutions to sustainable reversal of environmental degradation.
According to the NDDC Chief Executive Officer, the Commission would not relent in the quest to find solutions to the environmental challenges in the Niger Delta region.
He affirmed: “The Forum will serve as an avenue for the rejuvenation of our degraded environment and restoration of our ecosystems.
“This is yet another strategic milestone in the Commission’s quest to bequeath an environment devoid of all manners of pollution and the restoration of our degraded ecosystem coming from oil exploration and exploitation activities in the Niger Delta region.”
He posited that the NDDC had consistently sought for solutions to environmental degradation in the Niger Delta region. “We must strive harder after this forum to restore our environment for the sustainability of the Niger Delta region.”
In his address, the NDDC Director, Environmental Protection and Control, NDDC, Engr. Onuoha Obeka stated that the Commission was aware of the United Nations Declaration of “A Decade of Ecosystem Restoration” and was working assiduously to seek ways to halt environmental degradation and improve environmental health practices in the Niger Delta region.
He stated that recent research revealed that there was an increase in the level of heavy metals in the soil of the Niger Delta region. According to him “these metals are carcinogenic and therefore harmful to plant and animal life.”
Obeka noted: “The effect of traces of these metals which are known to be carcinogens in our plant and animal protein cannot be over overemphasized. It is with this understanding and in fulfilment of our mandate enshrined in the NDDC Act 2000, that we have thought it wise to seek your collaboration in finding solutions to the environment question of the Niger Delta region.”
The Forum’s Lead Consultant, Dr. Justin Akankali noted that the goal of the Forum was to find sustainable and long-term solutions to the challenges of environmental degradation and pollution in the Niger Delta region.
He said the meeting was a fallout of the decisions taken at the last World Environment Day and commended the NDDC for taking the initiative.