Akpabio attributes economic and security challenges to climate change

By Peter Usman://

The Minister, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, has said that the climate change being experienced around the Lake Chad has reduced economic activities and the security challenges facing the nation.

The Minister made this assertion during an interactive session with members of “Course 15 Executive Intelligence Participants of the National Institute for Security Studies,” NISS, at the Minister’s office recently in Abuja.

The Minister who commended the Institute and participants on the selection of this year’s theme, “Global Climate Challenge Practice & Prospects for Economic Development and Conflict Resolution in Africa”, posited that the theme is a clear example of the situation in the Lake Chad region, which shares boundaries with Nigeria, Cameroun and Niger Republic.

“The topic of the theme is very apt. Climate change and desert encroachment in the Lake Chad region has led to reduced economic activities in the region. The Lake Chad region, which was about 25,000-sqkm water logged, has now shrinked to about 6000-sqkm. To an extend, this has affected the economy making it difficult for farmers, fishermen, and herders who use to benefit from the Lake Chad that is gradually drying up now. The outcome of your studies, I believe, will lead to finding a lasting solution to the problem”.

He further hinted on moves by the Federal Government to give legal teeth to deal with any of the International Oil Companies (IOC) who fail in its statutory obligation to oil producing communities, stressing that, “a law that will compel IOC’s engaged in oil exploration and exploitation in the Niger Delta region has already passed Second Reading in the House of Representatives. It is expected that after the bill is passed into law, there would be sanctions and punishment for any defaulter”, he added.

Earlier, Deputy Commandant and Director Studies, National Institute for Security Studies, Mr. Didacus Egor Egbeji, commended the Minister for sustaining peace and stability in the versatile region with infrastructural development cutting across the nine States of the Niger Delta region.

The Deputy Commandant, states that this year’s course in the institute with the theme “Global Climate Challenge Practice & Prospects for Economic Development and Conflict Resolution in Africa” tallies with the Ministry’s mandate and is paramount to the Niger Delta region.

Egbeji, further maintained, that the visit among other reasons was to hear from the Minister, what the Government and Ministry are doing to curb issues emanating from oil pollution in the region. According to him, “when we talk of Global Climate Change, we mean what affects the ozone layer, concerning oil exploration and the degradation of the environment by the activities of multinational companies operating in the region”.

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