Sylvester Idowu in Warri
A developmental economist, Prof. Pat Utomi has posited that the rate of cancer will increase in the Niger Delta region in the near future, unless the current rate of gas flaring is checked to stop the degradation of the environment.
Prof. Utomi noted that a healthy environment is a heritage from fore fathers, but sadly he present generation may not be able to bequeath same to their children because of activities of oil majors and poor attitude to environmental issues.
Presenting his keynote address at the 2nd mid-year national conference of the Isoko Development Union (IDU) womenâ€™s wing weekend, tagged; â€œBuilding Healthy People and Healthy Planet,â€ he stated that history will not treat the country kindly if it fail to show concern about the environment.
While advocating for women empowerment through proper education, he said if women were well equipped with knowledge on impact of the environment to development, they will be properly guided to take actions that will mitigate environmental challenges in the future, as women were closer to the environment than men.
According to him, â€œthere is no challenge that cannot be won by women, because they have milk of human kindness, therefore they are critical to development and if well educated, they can trigger up development when they apply their natural strength.â€
Utomi who was given â€œIsoko Prestigious Award,â€ said there were enough resources in the world, but sadly there were high levels of poverty because of failure of leadership, adding that the country has leaders who do not have the political will, â€˜the know-how and know-why things are not changing.
He explained that the starting point in escaping from poverty was proper education for children and women, stressing that women were important factor in the education of the children, especially in their moral up brining.
On his youth empowerment programme, he noted that many youths leave school certificated but lacks skill and workplace attitude, these he said, necessitated the Center for Value in Leadership to step in to fill the gap by equipping youths with the needed skills to enable them become wealth creators through self mastering.
Earlier, in her welcome address, the President of IDU, Amb. Caroline Usikpedo-Omoniye canvassed for social inclusion of women and 50/50 affirmative action on women participation in governance, noting that if implemented, would boost development and empower the womenfolk.