Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Climate Change could affect Tourism


With increasing of sea level rise tourist sites such as beaches in some parts of the world could be lost. The recent "Hurricane Sandy" affected some beaches in the United States.

In Lagos Nigeria, Okun Alpha Community has continues to experience increasing shoreline erosion that is reducing the size of the beach in the area. The community host the popular Alpha-Beach in Lekki but now, it is a ghost of itself as funseekers barely visit the beach. This has affected the socio-economic activities in and around the beach community. Also recently in Lagos, Kuramo Beach experienced an ocean surge that left about twenty people dead. The beach has since been closed and businesses paralysed.

Towards ensuring preservation and sustainance of coastal areas, a project is ongoing to avoid further damage to coastal communities and sites.

The Collaborative Actions for Sustainable Tourism (COAST) Project is a five-year project in its fourth year of implementation. It is a Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded Project with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as the implementing agency; United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as executing agency in partnership with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

The COAST Project aims to demonstrate and support adoption of best practice approaches for sustainable tourism that reduces the degradation of marine and coastal environments of trans-boundary significance. This is through supporting and enhancing the conservation of globally significant coastal and marine ecosystems and associated biodiversity in Sub-Saharan Africa, through the reduction of the negative environmental impacts which they receive as a result of coastal tourism.

Geoffrey Omedo,Knowledge Management and Communication Officer,UNIDO COAST Project during a visit to Lagos said the project would help preserve coastal sites thereby encouraging tourism. He pointed out that tourism as a source of revenue for some countries is been lost, as tourist beaches continues to be eroded due to shoreline erosion.

According to him UNIDO through the COAST Project is working on a demo site in Badagry, a coastal community in Lagos Nigeria. Badagry is an ancient town that played a significant role in Nigeria's history in the past.

Tourism is a source of revenue generation for some countries and also livelihood for residents within the areas that have been affected due to the effect of sea-level rise, he added.

Sapele Central Hospital: Compromising Government’s Free Maternal Care



Having identified poverty as a major societal problem and its tendency to deny people access to quality medical care, Delta state governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, a medical doctor by profession, enunciated a number of free and qualitative healthcare programmes for the benefit of all Deltans including women and children.

Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan took over the mantle of leadership of the state at a time when the nation’s health indices were at precarious levels with its negative multiplier effects on the health status of Deltans as evident in the high rate of maternal and child mortality as well as declining life expectancy rate. Given this unpleasant health development, the Governor quickly translated his eagerness to enhance the health status of Deltans into the formulation and implementation of people centered health policies and programmes. Notable among these policies were the free maternal, free under-five and rural healthcare schemes.

In line with the determination of Dr. Uduaghan’s government to ensure that these laudable health programmes achieved their desired results and were not in any way compromised by some health personnel and care givers, the Commissioner for Health Dr. Joseph Otumara, at inception of the schemes, undertook a tour of all the secondary health facilities in the state to sensitize the medical personnel on the programs and the dos and don’ts governing them. He never failed to emphasize at every point, how dear they were to the governor.

The Governor also under took the proactive measure of expanding, re-equipping and enhancing the capacity of the medical staff of the hospitals in order for them to be able to withstand the challenges that would result from anticipated influx of people living in Delta and neighbouring states as a result of the free healthcare programmes.
It is sad to note, however, that despite the measures put in place to ensure that the schemes, especially the free maternal and under-five healthcare were easily accessed by those they were intended free of charge, women are forced to pay different kinds of fees at some of the government health facilities across the state for pre-natal, delivery and post-natal services.

Investigations have revealed that these sharp practices are common at the state government owned secondary health facilities. In some of these hospitals, pregnant women and parents of under-five children are made to part with some money for the purchase of clinical items ranging from drugs to bandages, soap, disinfectant, tissue papers and even fuel for the hospitals’ alternative source of power supply.

Several reports of brisk business by some health workers and other unwholesome activities to undermine these novel healthcare programmes have been made in the past to which the commissioner of health responded by sanctioning the perpetrators. However, the development has continued unabated in some of these hospitals.
This article was informed by the ordeal of a pregnant woman of Delta state extraction in the hands of some health personnel at the Sapele General hospital who went to the hospital for delivery.

The lady in her first pregnancy had earlier registered for her antenatal service at the General hospital, Akuku-Igbo where she is resident. While in her foster mother’s place in Sapele on a visit, she went into labour. She went to Central Hospital, Sapele on October 17, 2012 and was admitted the same day.

The first surprise hit her when she was asked to pay the sum of N1, 800 for the same tests she had earlier undergone free of charge at Akuku-Igbo General Hospital. She presented her Akuku-Igbo General Hospital maternity card and informed them that the tests ought to be free but the laboratory attendant insisted on the payment. Even after one of the matrons told them the implication of the illegal collection, the laboratory attendant insisted she must pay. Because she was already in a precarious condition, she had to pay. However, she insisted on getting a receipt for the payment and they reluctantly gave her.

She was directed to purchase most of the prescribed drugs outside the hospital. For every examination carried out on her by the nurses, she paid the sum of of #120 for hand gloves. On October 18, which was the next day, at about 9pm, her labour pain became severe. She was asked to provide money for fuel to power the generator as there was power outage by the public power supplier (PHCN). All her pleadings to the nurses on duty to attend to her while she sent for her foster mother fell on deaf ears.
Since she had no money on her at the time, she put a call across to her foster mother, a 70 year old woman and informed her of the development. The old woman was able to get some litres of fuel from the black market as the filling stations had closed for the day’s business. The nurses on duty could not contain their anger when the old woman emerged with a gallon of fuel. They collected the gallon of fuel from her but not before letting her know that she ought to have provided the money for it. The woman in labour was asked to pay #1,000 as the Jik (sterilizer) which they had bought was not the giant one. She pleaded with #500 which they collected.

The old woman was locked out of the maternity ward despite the heavy down pour that night for buying fuel instead of giving them money in lieu. She said that all she could do was to resort to prayers for the safety of her daughter. At about 1a.m, she got the news that her daughter had delivered safely. The old woman was hoping that the nurses would allow her entrance into the maternity ward as her daughter would soon come back to the ward from the labor room, not knowing that she was in for a long wait.

Mother and baby were detained at the labour ward for several hours as the nurses insisted that she paid the sum of N2, 000 before she could be allocated a bed in the maternity ward. She was detained in the labour room, made to lie on the bare delivery table with her baby in the dark room despite the fuel they provided from 1a.m to 6a.m when her worried old step mother put a call across to one of the matrons at the maternity ward, who ordered the immediate release of the woman and her baby.

The lady narrated that at intervals, when the labour pain became so severe, she would plead with the nurse to come and check on her but each time she begged she got a scolding and a stern warning from the nurse that she should stop disturbing her sleep. “I had to resort to calling “Jesus! Jesus!” each time the labour pang mounts.

The only consolation she got was from a doctor who heard her cry and took pity on her. She said that the doctor came and requested her to be patient and do whatever they ask her to do that in no distant time she would deliver. She explained that at a point she noticed that the baby’s head was already out, so she called on the nurse who shouted back to her to lie sideways that it was not time yet. She said that as she lay sideways, she discovered that the baby was struggling as if it was being strangled. She quickly laid flat on her back and began to cry out with a loud voice, “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Help me! Help me!”

It was at that point, the nurse came and with just a little push, the baby and placenta came out at once. She said, “If I was not a beneficiary of the free maternal care at the General Hospital, Akuku-Igbo, I would have become a critique of the state government’s free maternal healthcare programme because of the way I was treat in Sapele General Hospital. Governor Uduaghan has tried but human beings are frustrating his efforts”.

When contacted the Chief Medical Director, Dr. (Mrs.) Omo-Aghoja, she condemned the actions of the nurses and other health workers involved and said that she would not take it lightly as she would set up a panel to investigate the report and that everyone found wanting would be sanctioned. She said that maternal care at the hospital is free in accordance with the health policies of the state government, adding that only in caesarian cases where patients may be requested to buy drugs that are out of stock from outside.

Delta state government meant well for the people but certain human factors at the point of delivering these services sabotage all the efforts. It may interest you to know that these saboteurs are most focal in criticizing government policies and magnifying perceived failures.

This Story was written by By Rosemary Nwaebuni from the Media Advocay Group on the MDG Acceleration in Nigeria. She is based in Delta State Nigeria.

REDUCING CLIMATE RISKS IN AFRICA THROUGH SCIENCE AND INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES


The realities of Climate Change effect in Africa and Nigeria is glaring, and urgent steps are needed to curb the negative impact it is having in the region. President Goodluck Jonathan stated this during in his opening speech at the 8th Annual Meeting of the Africa Academy of Science AMASA- EIGHT held in Lagos.

The theme of the Conference “Climate Change in Africa: Using Science to Reduce the Climate Risks” according to President Jonathan is in line with the believe that science is a tool to proffer solutions to challenges affecting man. Sustainable management of natural resources, biofuel production and clean energy initiatives are key areas that provide investment opportunities in Africa.

In his words “Science cannot be ignored. It continues to assume greater importance in todays society. Science is essential for human security, prosperity, health and environment.

A member of the Africa Development Bank ADB Dr Anthony Nyong pointed out that there are diverse investment opportunities in Africa that would help reduce the risks associated with the effect of climate change which has continued to increase the level of poverty in the region.

He urged African leaders to invest in the energy sector by harnessing clean energy sources of renewable energy such as solar and wind.
He added that the amount of solar energy available in Africa can lift the region out of its energy poverty level which has made most people living in Africa to be without source of power. “The renewable energy sources are clean and would not increase carbon emission”.


In attracting the investments in climate technology African leaders need to address policy and regulatory barriers, provide accurate and current data that investors would be able to plan and work.
Though Africa receives the lowest proportion of finance for adaptation but by mainstreaming climate factors into development issues this would help reduce the risk associated with climate change in the continent.

The host of the conference Professor Oye -Ibidapo-Obe stressed that Africans are the ones that can solve the Africa problem and through science this can be achieved. According to him the known world powers were able to attain the level of development they have because they invested in the area of research and development.
He appealed to African leaders to allocate fund judiciously for research and development in their budget to enable scientists and researchers undertake ground breaking findings that would enhance development. “It is sad that African scientists and researchers have to largely depend on aids and grants from foreign donors before they can carry out research. Africa is blessed enough to invest in research and development.

Professor Ibidapo-Obe said the Eighth Annual Meeting of the African Academy of Science (AMASA 8) is organised to bring stakeholders to focus on the occurrence of climate change in Africa and its impact on public health and food security, to advocate for an inclusive science based agenda on adaptation to, and mitigation of climate risks in Africa. Also to initiate a process for the long term engagement of African science academies with their governments and relevant stakeholders on climate change issues, and to discuss ways to mobilize finance for climatic effects in Africa.

In a joint statement by the African Science Academies from the fourteen member countries titled “ raising the African voice” the African Academies called on governments in Africa and the Africa Union to provide and increase support for scientific research on climate change, and foster a continuing engagement with national science Academies for providing technical advice on climate change.

The Nineth edition of the conference would be held in Addis Ababa Ethiopia in November, 2013.

Youths and Science Development

Like most Nigerian teenagers who have dreams and ambition after secondary school to further their education. That is the story of Miss Oluwashayo Elubode. Miss Elubode is a young and aspiring agronomist I met when I visited International Institute of Tropical Agricultural IITA, Ibadan in company of the Youth Voices for Small Scale Farmers who came on tour the Institute. Twenty nine years old Miss Oluwashayo Elubode wanted to study nursing at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology LAUTECH Ogbomosho Osun State but was rather offered Agronomic. Reason been the nursing department had reached it maximum number of applicants to be absorbed into the department that year. Miss Elubode explained that she was disappointed but decided to visit the Head of Department of Agronomy who told her what agronomic meant. According to her "when i was offered the course, i did not know or even heard of the word agronomic". After the brief lecture by the HOD I was able to understand what the course was about subsequently after five years of studying agronomic, I was glad I did. I saw a young lady who was happy doing what she was doing what she was doing.
Miss Elubode said after her youth service year she applied for work experience at IITA to broaden her knowledge and prepare her for further research towards her post-graduate studies as she plans to specialise on agronomic. She described agronomic as the backbone of agriculture as research in agronomic when applied brings about innovative ways of boosting agriculture production.

At the cassava unit in IITA where she is undergoing a six-month training, she highlighted the vast potentials in cassava which is pointed out to be the next big boom in the country. In her words: cassava is a food security crop that is able to transform the economy of Nigeria. It is well known that Nigeria is the largest producerof cassava in the world. All environmental factors that can boost maximum yield of cassava is available in Nigeria. That is why IITA is undertaken alots of research in cassava such as improved varities like the Beta-carotene fortified casssava. The days that cassava is regarded only as a source of carbohydrate are gone. Improved varieties now have vitamins and proteins. There is yellow garri which in the past you have to add palm oil to produce a yellow garri which is more expensive due to the addition of palm oil. Miss Elubode maintained that through cassava a green revolution in the agricultural sector can be achieved. Cassava is a staple food in most homes in Nigeria either processed as garri for eba, fufu, lafu. she urged those into large scale production in the manufacturing industry to embrace cassava and use it as a by-product. if more cassava flour is used in the production of bread this would impact on the income and livelihood of small scale farmers.

Lots of money is used to import wheat flour into this country for bread production. There is cassava fortified with Vitamins that can be processed as flour and use to bake bread and other pasteries. she maintained that cassava flour would add value to bread production and appealed to large scale bakers to introduced cassava flour in these production. I am an agronomist and used still be carried out more research into this wonderful crop called cassava. it is the next big thing to happen to Nigeria, she added. she encouraged more youths to come into agriculture. i am glad i am able to contribute my quota to national development. if the youth dont see agriculture as a way of life very soon the old farmers who are growing weak and old would be no more. Does it mean we would no longer eat in this country? she asked. The youths have the energy and idea. We are the ones to bring back the past glory Nigeria achieved through agriculture. That means now we can do better with science and research. I appeal to Nigerian youths to engage aggresively in agriculture because there are vast potential in this sector. Miss Elubode bemoans the gradual switch in science education, as young entrants into higher institutions prefer other courses but she expressed optimism that through science alots can be transformed in the country.

Also a young lecturer at Nasarawa state University Mr Tunde Taiwo who studied for his Post-graduate research at IITA decried the neglect in the area of science. Mr Taiwo noted that science research in Nigeria is not receiving adequate attention and funding. He said the specialised higher institutions in the country like Universities of Technology and Agriculture are gradually becoming conventional universities. There are only three universities of agriculture in Nigeria: Abeokuta, Umudike, Makurdi but because of revenue generation more non-sciene courses are been introduced into these schools. Mr Taiwo called for more support by the government and corporate organisation in the area of science education and development. According to him I am about going to the United Kingdom UK for my doctorate degree because there is no enough research materials in my area of interest. I believe in the UK there would be well equipped laboratories and not a case where I would be choked with theories and few practicals. Nigerians are intelligent and do well when they go abroad to study because of the enabling education environment.

The recently presented 2013 budget shows that the education sector has a good allocation from the budget. The sucess of this budget would be if the fund are appropriately disbursed in the relevant areas where they are needed and proper monitoring of its use. Experts in the education sector identified corruption as a challenge to judiciously use of funds designated for development of education. The attainment of some of the Millenium Development Goals MDG as agreed by member countries of the United Nations by 2015 would be achieved if more proactive measures are put in place to encourage science education and research in the country.


This Story was published on www.environewsnigeria.com under agriculture category

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

United Nation International Day Against Domestic Violence

An advocacy group has advised the male-folk to work towards the eradication of domestic violence, particularly harmful attacks on women.


The Co-ordinator of Beyond the Classroom Foundation a non-governmental organization Miss Raquel Jacob stated this during a road walk to create awareness on the ills of domestic violence held in Lagos.


Miss Jacobs said domestic violence against the female gender should not be allowed to be a norm that is accepted because it is against civilization.


According to her the campaign to end abuse against women was necessary to highlight the plights of women and girls as such cases are now on the increase.

The walk tagged: 'Youths against Violence and Abuse' started at the University of Lagos UNILAG, reaching out to its environs, and terminating at the take off point.

The initiative was to commemorate the United Nation’s 'International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women' which holds every 25th of November.


Participants at the events includes Youth, professionals from various fields of work, coordinators of Chamagne Foundation, Community Empowerment for Peace and Health, World Youth Alliance( Nigeria), University of Lagos Faculty Presidents, and the press corps.



As the walk progressed, residents of Bariga Lagos were sensitized on the dangers of Violence and Abuse on Women and Girls; short counselling sessions for various group of gathering took place, with special attention given to residents who confessed to being victims of abuse.


The participants carried placards reading ‘No to Gender Based Violence’, ‘Protect HER, Please Protect HER’, ‘Say No to Violence and Abuse’; they wore shirts carrying similar messages such as ‘Violence and Abuse is Wrong’, ‘Protect Her, Don’t Abuse Her’ and distributed handbills along the way.


It is the hope of the coordinator of the project, Ms. Raquel Jacobs that men and the society in general would recognise how to care for the female gender and not abuse her psychologically, emotionally and physically.

The walk is a series of part of Beyond the Classroom Foundation’s campaign to end Abuse against Women, Its HandsUp for the Girl Project also recently organised an event for the Day of the Girl to shine a spotlight on the plight of women and girls.


The road walk had participants from different youth’s groups and short counseling sessions were held to educate victims on ways to avoid being abused.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Burkina Faso Receives Funding for Sanitation Project



Representatives of various local, regional and international development agencies and from different levels of Government met in Ouagadougou to discuss the funding of a sanitation project in the peri-urban areas of Ouagadougou, estimated at €138 million (FCFA 90.5 billion). This project should be completed by 2017 and is expected to improve the lives of an estimated one million people living in the most vulnerable areas of the city.

The donor roundtable was organized by Ouagadougou’s City Council to mobilize the necessary funds for the construction of the planned infrastructure. The project was the subject of feasibility studies funded by the African Water Facility (AWF) which provided €647,000, covering 88 per cent of the costs of the preparatory work completed in August 2011.


“We are proud to be associated with this initiative and confident in the leadership of the City to carry out such an important and promising project,” said Akissa Bahri, Coordinator of the African Water Facility. “We hope the financial partners will also support this project, which should benefit a wide range of citizens, including youth, women and the poorest people of the suburbs, providing them with a better living environment.”


The African Development Bank has already committed to funding the project up to €26 million (FCFA 17 billion) to begin the works as early as 2013, adding to the €8 million (FCFA 5 billion ) committed by the Government of Burkina Faso, and the €1.5 million (FCFA 1 billion) invested by the Municipality of Ouagadougou. The City is now seeking to fill the €103 million (FCFA 67.5 billion) gap with other financial partners, most of whom expressed interest in the project during the roundtable stage.


The project is of paramount importance to Ouagadougou, in light of the tragic flood of September 1, 2009, which left thousands homeless. The City hopes to implement a sanitation system resilient to the increasingly devastating floods capital has been recurrently facing in recent years due to climate change.


Aside from the AWF and African Development Bank (AfDB), other agencies were represented at the meeting including the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the French Development Agency, the German Development Bank (KfW), the Islamic Development Bank, OFID (former Fund of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries), UN-Habitat, WaterAid, Water and Sanitation Agency Africa, the West African Development Bank and the World Bank.


Burkina Faso and the City of Ouagadougou are important partners of the African Water Facility. Moreover, Burkina Faso recently joined the group of donors of the African Water Facility by making a contribution of €80,000. This contribution demonstrates the country’s commitment to promoting the development of the water sector both at home and across the continent.



The project is expected to improve the lives of an estimated one million people living in the most vulnerable areas of the city




African Water Facility (AWF)

The AWF is an initiative of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB), established in 2004 as a Special Water Fund to help African countries achieve the objectives of the Africa Water Vision 2025. The AWF offers grants from €50,000 to €5 million to support projects aligned with its mission and strategy to a wide range of institutions and organizations operating in Africa. Its three strategic priority activities are: (1) preparing investment projects to mobilise investment funds for projects supported by AWF; (2) enhancing water governance to create an environment conducive for effective and sustainable investments; (3) promoting water knowledge for the preparation of viable projects and informed governance leading to effective and sustainable investments. Since 2006, AWF has funded 73 national and regional projects in 50 countries, including in Africa’s most vulnerable states. It has mobilised more than €532 million as a result of its project preparation activities, which constitute 70 per cent of its portfolio. On average, each €1 contributed by the AWF has attracted €20 in additional follow-up investment.


The AWF is entirely funded by Algeria, Australia, Austria, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Burkina Faso, Canada, Denmark, the European Commission, France, Norway, Senegal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the African Development Bank

Solar Energy: German Government partners with Katsina State


The German Ambassador to Nigeria Mrs. Janetzke-Wenzel visited Katsina state to pave the way for solar plant as a source of energy in the state. She was accompanied
by high-ranking German economic representatives. Together with the Governor of
Katsina, His Excellency Dr. Ibrahim Shehu Shema, the ambassador launched the planning
phase for a solar power plant in a ceremony well-attended by many representatives of the state government. The power plant is part of the German-Nigerian Energy
Partnership and will have a capacity of 30 MegaWatt. Construction of the plant is scheduled to commence in 2013.

In their speeches the Ambassador and Katsina State Governor stressed that with the power plant, which will be manufactured in collaboration with a renowned German company, Katsina state would receive environmentally clean and reliable electricity. The Governor expressed optimism that power plant project would boost socio-economic activities in the Katsina.

Solar energy has been advocated by many environmentalists as a clean source of energy that would help reduce over dependence on other sources of energy that increases carbon emission.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

German Foreign Minister visits Abuja


The German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Guido Westerwelle, will visit the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 2nd to 3rd November 2012.

Abuja is the third leg of the German Minister’s trip to West Africa. He had previously visited Senegal and Mali.

During his visit, Dr. Westerwelle will be meeting the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and the Foreign Minister Amb. Olugbenga Ashiru.

The talks will focus on bilateral and regional issues. The foreign ministers of both countries will conduct a plenary meeting of the German-Nigerian binational commission.

The German foreign minister will also hold discussions with the ECOWAS Secretariat. In
addition, Dr. Westerwelle will meet with Christian and Muslim religious leaders.

This is a way of strengthen ties between both countries and which is in line with the eighth Millennium Development Goal MDG's that is developing global partnership for development.