Monday, 25 March 2013

Greenpeace challenges BRICS with new report

With the ongoing BRICS conference, Greenpeace challenges the bloc to lead the way in renewable energy development.

Millions of South Africans do not have access to electricity and those that do, cannot always afford it. Vested interests in coal and nuclear, lack of political will and misconceptions about renewable energy are major stumbling blocks in clean energy development.

A new Greenpeace report: "Powering the future Renewable Energy" roll-out in South Africa debunks the misconceptions surrounding renewable energy generation; offers solutions to the barriers to its deployment; and presents success stories from across the globe.

According to Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo, “SA, the BRICS and the rest of the world can no longer afford to wait – climate change is happening now. It is not technology, a lack of resources, nor even economics that prevents an Energy [R]evolution but rather a lack of political will. South Africa, can and should champion renewable energy, one in which we see increased access to cheap electricity, thousands of new jobs and the democratisation of energy production”.

Public Analysts Glamour for a National Analytical Laboratory

Professional Chemists under the auspices of the Institute of Public Analyst of Nigeria IPAN, are calling for the establishment of a National Public Analytical Laboratory in the Country.

The Laboratory they believe would give Nigerians the opportunity to analyze materials,food and cosmetic samples, in order to ensure there is improve standard and quality in what is offered to consumers.

The Registrar of the IPAN Professor David Oluleye stated this during the Investiture of Fellows and Induction of New Members into the Institute.

Professor Oluleye said IPAN was constituted to complement the role of the National Food and Drug Administration Control NAFDAC, in ensuring standard in the country and Nigerians are meant to benefit from the synergy between the two bodies.

He charged the new members to abide by the rules governing the activities of its member by ensuring standards are maintained at all times without cutting corners and involving in sharp practices.

According to Professor Oluleye IPAN is charged with improving the provision of healthcare and wholesomeness of consumer goods and services.

The President of the Institute Balogun Ganiyu Sanni expressed displeasure that members of IPAN are not setting up new laboratories , and called on them to set up laboratories to adequately fulfill there roles as stated by the law that establish the Institute.

Balogun Sanni said it was necessary for IPAN to upgrade and maintain global standards because they are competing with analysts from other parts of the world.

He also called for specialization in analysis in the area of biological, chemical and device safety.

The Registrar of Optometrists and Dispensing Opticians Registration Board and also the Guest Lecturer of the occasion Dr. Samuel Ntem, while delivering a paper on building professional excellence pointed out that there is a relationship between organisation success and skilled staff.

Dr. Ntem said professional excellence is needed in every field of life because it is key in changing and impacting the society.

He charged the new fellows and members of IPAN to maintain high standards in their dealings as they owe the society a responsibility.

A total of nine fellows and twenty-one members were inducted into the institute.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Ondo Government Partners with NCF

With the intervention of the Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, the full implementation of the Osse River Park Project would soon commence as the State Government has promised to partner with the Nigeria Conservation Foundtion NCF.

At a meeting by the leadership of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation with Governor Olusegun Mimiko, in Akure recently, the Acting Executive Director of NCF, Alade Adeleke highlighted the opportunities that the project will bring for the people and government of Ondo State.

Mr. Adeleke used the forum which had in attendance top government officials of the State to enumerate some challenges facing the smooth implementation of the project since its take-off about two years ago such as the development of infrastructure and total neglect of conservation and field-related activities.

Governor Mimiko while reacting to NCF concerns expressed surprise over the non-implementation of the project according to the technical work plan. He also expressed displeasure that there had not been feedback on how the project had fared since the flag-off over two years ago.

After thorough consideration and consultation with the Ministry officials on the issues raised in the presentation, the Governor finally gave approval for the following:

• Appointment of Project Manager (PM). He directed the Secretary to the State Government and the Head of Service to liaise with the Permanent Secretary and NCF in the appointment of the PM.

• Regular stakeholders’ meeting. He pledged his total support to this

• Production and implementation of a one-year work plan with the promise to help facilitate release of more funds to drive the work plan with the necessary approval of the State House of Assembly.

• Pronouncement by the State Government banning all illegal activities and encroachment.

• The Governor promised to help facilitate the enactment of relevant laws on Osse River Park to enhance enforcement.

It would be recalled that about two years ago, having recognized the importance of the forest to the biodiversity conservation in Nigeria, the Ondo State Government in partnership with leading environmental non-governmental organization, Nigerian Conservation Foundation formulated a strategic plan aimed at turning the reserve to an international standard game park. The aims and objectives of the project as it contained in the strategic implementation plan include:

• To preserve the full range of flora and fauna varieties in Ifon Forest Reserve.

• To promote the sustainable use of natural resources for the benefit of the present and future generation in communities surrounding Ifon Forest Reserve.

• And to advocate actions that minimize pollution and wasteful use of renewable and non renewable resources in Ifon Forest Reserve among others.

The project is inclined towards making better lives of the communities and settlements around and within the forest through environmental education, capacity building and training, participation in the forest management strategies and employment of youth. Other direct benefits to the various communities include the establishment of hospitality based institutions such as hotels, recreation centre and eateries to cater for both local and international tourists.

Ifon Forest, located in Ondo State South West Nigeria has been recognized as one of the newly important bird’s biodiversity hotspots in Nigeria. The forest has since been recommended for designation as one of Nigeria’s Important Bird Area (IBA) which status is of conservation significance recognized by the BirdLife International.

Fifth Lagos State Climate Change Summit

Man's quest for innovative development in the area of energy demand and infrastructure would continue to increase the impact of changing climate across the world.

Governor Babatunde Fashola stated this during the opening ceremony of the, fifth Lagos state climate change conference holding in Lagos between the 13-15 of March.

Governor Fashola said the devastating impact of changing climate as experienced now is due to accumulative choices made by man over the years.

He explained that man cannot alter the course of nature and expect nature not to fight back, as he pointed out that the impact of climate change has killed more people than all the wars fought in history.

Governor Fashola called on Lagosians to stop the culture of burying the dead in the house and pouring engine oil into the gutter because it would affect the quality of underground water.

The Commissioner for the Ministry of the Environment, Mr Tunji Bello explained that the choice of this year's theme "Vulnerability and Adaptability to Climate Change in Nigeria-Lagos State Transportation, Housing and Infrastructure in Focus" was necessary to address specific sector that are related to the development of the state.

This is he said would make transport,housing and infrastructural development in Lagos state to be resistant to the impact of climate change.

Mr. Tunji Bello expressed optimism that continous information disseminated through the climate change conference would enable Lagosians, to make informed decisions that would help to improve the environment in which they live.

Furthermore, Mr. Bello said the recent closure of the Ladipo Spare parts market was due to violation of environmental compliance because trading activities in and around the market was encroaching on drainages in the area and becoming an eyesore.

To this end he called on Lagosians to ensure that drainages and gutters around their homes are clean and not blocked by dirt because when there is excessive rainfall they would be the first victims of their actions.

A Former Minister of Energy in Sierra Leone Professor Ogunlade Davidson advised the Federal Government to stop the flaring of gas in oil producing areas of the country this he said would continue to increase the amount of green house gases emitted to the atmosphere which would further change the climate.

Professor Davidson said the amount of gas flared across Africa is enough to generate seventy percent of electricity to the region.

Also Mr Ewah Eleri the Executive Director of International Center for energy and environmental Development ICEED, believes that the fight towards ensuring availability and affordability of clean energy in Nigeria is producing results, with some State Government given priority attention to energy demand of her people.

According to Mr Eleri the amount of Nigerians dying from indoor air pollution through the use of firewood is alarming and that is why more need to be done to ensure that Nigerians have access to clean energy he stressed.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Rats on Rampage: Watch Before You Eat

In this era of erratic power supply, getting home at night after the day's work and retiring to darkness could be depressing. For most women the culture of buying gifts or appetizers for the kids is a time of joy and celebration as they would gladly eat whatever you present to them.

But if you happen to get home and there was no power supply endeavor to make adequate lighting available as this could save your children's life.

In my neighborhood I have a regular customer where I purchase most of my household needs such as toiletries, provisions and even sachet drinking water.

On this particular day on my way to work because I knew I would work till late, I decided to buy a loaf of sliced bread which I intend to share with a colleague in the office.

I took the bread without much inspection believing it was in a good condition as I usually noticed when I buy. On getting to the office and I was about to share the bread with my colleagues, I was shocked to discover the bad state of the bread. On thorough inspection I observed the bread was already eaten by rat as a large bite of the rat was visible.

The first six slice of the bread was eaten off by the rat attack. I gently repacked the bread and returned immediately to the shop, disappointed on arrival I expressed my displeasure on why the shop owner was selling such a known branded bread in a bad state.

He was also shocked to realize the bread had been attacked by rats and replied that the bread was supplied to him like that. I took photo shots of the bread and decided to contact the company producing the bread.

I got the phone numbers written on the wrapper of the bread and made effort to call but none of the two numbers was available as I tried several times.

Some Nigerians had been victims of contaminated packaged food or drinks with some not reported to prevent others from falling into the same situation.

It is necessary for the National Food and Drug Administration Commission NAFDAC with other relevant agencies to monitor and inspect the state of food and drugs being sold to the Nigerians.

Since the beginning of the year there have been a recent outbreak of Lassa Fever with over person's dying from the infection.

Lassa Fever is an acute viral infection that was first discovered in Lassa village of Borno State North-East Nigeria in 1969.

It is caused by infected rodents that transmit the virus either through farces or urine droppings, or biting on household exposed foods.

It has also been found to be predominant in the West Africa regional countries like Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra-leone, Guinea and some parts of East Africa amongst others.

According to reports careless and unhygienic method of preserving food has increased the level of vulnerability in most densely populated residential areas.

The old method of preserving food crops in rural communities in some parts of the country has increased the spread of this deadly infection.

Along the highways in rural areas it is noticed that many household preserve there food crops by drying them in the sun on the expressway. A times these food produce are left for days to dry properly before been removed.

An indigenes of Edo state Mr Lucky Osaro stressed that Lassa fever is more endemic in the state because of the method of preserving food produce on the roads.

He stated that with the dry season and bush burning in preparedness for the new planting season, the rats are chased from their homes and move into the homes of people.

He advised parents to be on the look out for avenue that would allow for free entrance of these viral carrying rats. Further more he urged mothers to wash and watch what they feed their families with as the rats could have infected the food either by eating or urinating on them.

The worst hit States are Ebonyi, Nasarawa, Plateau, Benue, Ondo, with increased advocacy awareness in Lagos among other States.

That rats lurking around your neighborhood could be carrying the Lassa fever various, so watch before you put that food or drink in your mouth.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Eko Free Medical at Ayobo/Ipaja Local Community in Lagos

As part of activities marking this year's National Immunization Day the Lagos State Government has provided free medical services to residents of Ayobo/Ipaja Local Community Development Area LCDA. The services provided included general body check, surgery, antenatal care,counseling, and eye check up.

Many Lagosians also came from far location as they decided to take advantage of the free medical services which they said was yet to come to their area.

The Chairman of Ayobo/Ipaja LCDA, Honourable Shakiru Yusuf thanked the Governor for providing the free medical service to his people but appealed to the Governor that the road construction in the area which is yet to be completed should be given prompt attention.

Governor Babatunde Fashola while addressing the cheering crowd stressed that availability of good and efficient healthcare was part of the dividends of democracy and the rights of the people.

He called on mothers to ensure that their children are immunized against poliomyelitis and other infectious diseases at the appropriate time, in order for the children to live a healthy life because they are the future of tomorrow.

Governor Fashola attributed the delay in the road construction in the area to the peculiar nature of the terrain in Ayobo/Ipaja community where there are many Federal Government gas pipelines,that passes through the area as well as Power Holding Corporation of Nigeria PHCN electrical poles which has to be taken into consideration.

The Governor pointed out that good road network help to speed up development in an area and the State Government is committed to ensuring that many more suburbs are developed.

In the fight to reduce crime and strengthen security he called on community leaders and landlord associations to monitor the movement of persons within their locality.

This he said was necessary because most criminals live within the people and can be identified by the people.

A Health Official with the State Ministry of Health Mrs Esther Adegoroye emphasized that Lagos State is "Polio Free" and recent cases are attributed to influx of people from other states that already have the disease.

She encouraged mothers to make their children available for the basic immunization because immunization increases the antibodies and defense of the children against diseases.

According to her the first five years of a child is very important and through the right medical care the child would have a healthy life ahead.

Some beneficiaries of the free medical Programme who came from outside Ayobo/Ipaja community pointed out that they decided to take advantage of the Programme to access healthcare which they said was difficult to get in some government-owned hospitals.

Mr. Amaechi Anakwe who brought his sick child for surgery explained with bitterness how he has been trying to get a doctor's appointment for his child who needed an operation.

Mr. Anakwe who said that since December 2012 he has requested for an appointment for his son has to use the free medical service at Ayobo/Ipaja as an alternative.
I came all the way from Ogba to access healthcare and the number of people with such cases are too much. Even though this is happening here their are some people in remote areas that can't access and afford quality Heathcare service.

He appealed to the State Government to expand the Programme to other areas where he believes people are dying from diseases that could be cured or operated on.

Another beneficiary of the Programme Mr. Ilori Ogundele who came from Oshodi said when he first heard of the Programme, he did not believe because he thought it was a political jamboree and not a Programme for the poor who could not afford quality healthcare services.

I was overwhelmed by the crowd of people here and I thank God I came because I would never have been able to pay for this surgery by myself. But when such a Programme is to take place they should create enough awareness because some people, are not aware of this Programme and people are dying daily.

The Reproductive Health Co-ordinator from the Lagos State Ministry of Health Dr. Taiwo Johnson, expressed optimism that maternal and child mortality could be reduced, if mothers visit the hospital immediately they are pregnant and not wait till the last few months of pregnancy.

She also advised couples to save money for childbirth ahead of time because of cases of emergencies that could occur in the course of pregnancy.

Furthermore,she appealed to community and religious leaders to encourage their members to attend antenatal care and undertake other medical services that would improve the quality of their life.

The Eko Free Medical Care took place at FELA Field and Ayobo/Ipaja LCDA in Alimosho Local Government area which is the largest local government in Lagos State.

UNDP constructs floating school in Makoko Lagos

As a way of showing concern for the low standard of life of the inhabitants of Makoko coastal community of Lagos, the United Nation Development Programme UNDP has started construction of special coastline educational facilities known as "floating schools".

The school which first prototype was unveiled during the weekend is a two-storey building standing on silt and would be powered by solar energy.

The Country Director of the UNDP in Nigeria Miss Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje in an opening remark said UNDP was committed to improving the standard of living of people and expressed optimism that the school would change the face of Makoko.

According to her the children in the Makoko waterfront community deserves quality education in a conducive environment and the floating school project serves that purpose.

She added that through the support of the Lagos State government the school would attract tourists to see the wonder school floating on the Lagos Lagoon.

The Project Designer of the Makoko Floating School Mr. Kunle Adeyemi, said the school is a sustainable project that would not be affected by the impact of climate change like sea level rise.

This is because the water level at any given time does not affect the school but the school floats without been disturbed. The waste generated in the school would be recycled.

Mr Adeyemi called for support in construction of more floating schools in other coastal communities across the country because it would help to improve the lives of the people in such areas.

One of the community leaders in the Makoko water front community Chief Francais Agoyon thanked the UNDP for constructing a school that suits their environment and the needs of his people.

Chief Agoyon stressed that the Makoko people would make good use of the school and called for more of such developmental projects that meet the demand of the people.

He believes that with such projects in Makoko, the area would attract tourists from far and wide, that would enjoy the hospitality of the Makoko people.

The Programme Officer of the United Nation Habitat Mr Paul Okunlola pointed out that the floating school is a welcome initiative by the UNDP because children in Makoko will not be disadvantaged from accessing quality education because of their environment.

Mr. Okunlola stressed that the UN-Habitat is committed to achieving Goal 7 target 11 of the United Nation Millennium Development Goal MDG that is in line with upgrading slums across the world.

Though more slums are coming up across the globe but it is a running battle and we are determined to win the war, he added.

Friday, 1 March 2013

German Delegates arrive Nigeria to boost Bi-lateral Relations

A Delegation from German Federal Parliament (Deutscher Bundestag) will arrive in Lagos this week end. The Delegation, headed by Mr. Uwe Kekeritz MP, is the first for a very long time to visit Nigeria's former Capital and now flourishing economic and cultural hub of the country and beyond.

The Delegation will visit Eco Atlantic City site, obtain information about the problems of coastal erosion due to climate change and man-made interventions, visit Beachland Estate at Ibafon, former nucleus of the German community, and stilted settlements on the banks of the Lagos Lagoon.

Furthermore the Delegation will visit EFInA (Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access) dealing with financial inclusion and micro banking, funded amongst micro-banking, others by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The German MPs, among them highly Africa interested and experienced Mr Hartmut Fischer MP, too, will meet with persons active in the cultural sector, research scholarship holders of Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation and members of the German business Humboldt community.

In a reception hosted in their honour by Consul-General Walter General von den Driesch, they will also meet with Members of Lagos State House of Assembly and members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps in Lagos as well as members of the media.

It has to be noted that at the same time Mr Jochen Flasbarth, President of German Federal Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) sojourns in Lagos,later in Ibadan and Abuja, on a lecture tour.

The Delegation of German Federal Parliament will meet with members of the German corporate community before heading for Abuja for talks on federal government and parliamentary level.