The Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed has enjoined civil society groups to work closely with government to fight the menace of insurgency and other militancy in the country.
Mohammed who made the call while speaking as a guest lecturer at the 7th Environment Outreach Magazine public lecture in Abuja recently stated that government alone cannot win the war against insurgency in any form without the active collaboration of the people, especially the civil societies.
He also stressed the need for closer cooperation in view of the enormous damage the scourge has cost the country in material terms and general damage to the environment.
According to her, the economy of Nigeria has suffered greatly in the last two decades since the activities of militants escalated in the Niger Delta region. Pipeline vandals have wreaked havoc on our environment due to the huge amounts of crude oil spilled into the environment by their nefarious activities. This has in turn reduced our oil production output with attendant consequences for the economy.
Represented by the Director General of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Dr. Lawrence Anukam, the Minister lamented the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents that have in the last few years caused serious dislocations untold hardship to the people of the North-east and other parts of the country.
She called for an immediate end to the activities of insurgents in all parts of the country so that development can thrive.
Also speaking, Chairman of the occasion and former Minister of Environment, Mr. John Odey commended the Publisher, Chief Noble Akenge for his foresight and commitment in ensuring an enduring and well protected environment for the country by creating awareness of environmental issues across the country.
He called on the authorities and other corporate bodies to support and partner with the magazine in sustaining the fight against environmental abuse and degradation in the country.
He described the topic of the lecture “Insurgency and its effect on Nigeria’s economy and environment” as very apt and urged all stakeholders to close ranks and ensure that our environment is protected from abuse in all forms.
In his remarks, the special guest of honour, Dr. Daru Owei, stressed that the environment has become a strong issue now both locally and globally, not only to the oil industry but to all strata of society.
Owei, who was the former Deputy Managing Director of Nigerian Agip Oil Limited (NAOC) also commended Akenge for initiating the series of public lectures as a way of creating environmental awareness in the citizens of our great country.
Akenge stated that the reason for initiating the public lecture series was to create awareness and also bring environmental issues to the front burner of national discourse and action.
He said that the theme of the lecture was very appropriate in the light of the heavy damage insurgents, militants and pipeline vandals are doing to our environment and economy.
“From the Boko Haram insurgency in the North which has devastated our environment and virtually halted most of the desertification projects in the frontline states to the activities of militants and vandals that have made life virtually unbearable for the people of the Niger Delta and Nigerians in general, the story is the same”, he said.