Environment Ministry Strategises for 9 Priority Areas

Sharon Ikeazor

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

The Ministry of Environment has said that strategies had been developed along the nine priority areas of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Speaking at the meeting of the 15th National Council of Environment in Abuja yesterday, the Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, said: “In fulfilling our mandate, the ministry has developed strategies along the nine priority areas outlined by the current administration.”

She noted that the priority areas are: Build a thriving and sustainable economy; Enhance social inclusion and reduce poverty; Enlarge agricultural output for food security and export; Attain energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products and expand transport and other infrastructural development to achieve agriculture and food security and ensure energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products by/through taking targeted actions.
She said: “In fulfilling this mandate, the ministry is accelerating the implementation of the Ogoni Clean-up through Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP).

15.3 hectares of polluted land has so far been remediated into arable land suitable for agricultural activities in Ogoniland; currently ongoing is the construction of six water supply schemes with a capacity of supplying 2400 cubic meters (m3) of potable water per day to communities across the four LGAs of Ogoniland.”
Ikeazor said “to realise the environment of our dreams, it is imperative to consistently tackle these environmental challenges which includes climate change, deforestation, desert encroachment, loss of biodiversity, flood and erosion, environmental pollution amongst others.”

The minister who noted that the theme for the 15th Council of Environment is: ‘Appraisal of the Emerging Challenges and the opportunities in the Environment Sector: A call for Actions towards the Environment of our Dream’, said it was arrived at to reflect the current realities.

She noted that the ministry is also accelerating the implementation of the Great Green Wall Programme, through its agency, the National Agency for the Great Green Wall (NAGGW), which was established principally to reverse land degradation and desertification by supporting local communities in the sustainable management and use of natural resources to reduce poverty, enhance food security and promote sustainable livelihood.

She disclosed that the agency has cumulatively increased the total average of arable land recovered from a baseline of 90 hectares in 2019 to 4,792 hectares by second quarter of 2021. It has also increased the number of trees (Orchards and Woodlots) planted from 1,080,000 to 5,612,400.

She also disclosed that the Federal Department of Forestry and Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN) has also increased the vegetation cover from the baseline of 155,200 trees in 2019 to 635,840 by the second quarter of 2021.

She noted that: “We have actively collaborated with the private sector to create a large number of well-paying jobs for Nigerian youths. The ministry has been able to create 74,413 direct and indirect jobs through the implementation of various people-oriented projects and programmes as of the second quarter of 2021. A total number of 25,263 persons classified as the rural and poorest of the poor have received various livelihood enhancement trainings and support and have gone ahead to make a decent living for themselves.”
The minister reiterated the nation’s commitment to the Nigeria Energy Transition Plan of a universal access to energy by 2030; zero carbon emission by 2050; and industrialisation to alleviate poverty and drive economic growth in Nigeria.