BY AUSTINE ETAGHENE
WHEN last year, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan championed national awareness on climate change, cynics thought he was merely playing to the gallery. Events have since proved the Governor was on the right path as the issue of climate change is now a global phenomenon. Prior to his championing this noble campaign, Governor Uduaghan, along with some heads of sub-national governments, was guest of Arnold Shwarzenegger who was then the Governor of the State of California in the United States of America.
At the California meeting, the sub-national governors brainstormed on the challenges posed by climate change. They also agreed on the need for them to cooperate and exchange ideas since the issue at stake cuts across boundaries. The role of the Governor on how to tackle global warming and other related aspects of climate change has been acknowledged. Besides been a regular invitee of the United Nations on global summits, Governor Uduaghan is currently the Vice-Chairman of the body of sub-national governments which include state cum regional governors from the U.S, Canada, India, France and Algeria.
As it is now evident world-wide, climate change has not only manifested in global warming, but has resulted in severe weather alterations as shown by the torrential rains and attendant flooding.
Desirous of ensuring that the rains do not translate into flood disaster as is already happening in some states and countries, the Delta State Government has embarked on proactive measures to check the trend.
To underscore the seriousness his administration attaches to de-flooding flood prone areas of the state, the governor defied an early morning downpour to monitor last months environmental sanitation exercise in Warri. Accompanied by the Commissioner for Environment, Chief Frank Omare, Dr. Uduaghan directed that all illegal structures blocking natural waterways in Warri and its environs be pulled down with immediate effect.
In doing so, he warned that government was ready to step on toes when the demolition commences. According to him, “there will be no sacred cows. If you have built on natural water channels, we will come after you and pull down your structure. I have directed the Commissioner for Environment who is going round with me to bring down all structures blocking easy flow of water and nobody can intimidate us.” “Instructively, Chief Omare, along with the Ministry’s demolition team have carried out the governor’s directive by demolishing obstructive structures and removing filth from the natural water channels.
Meanwhile, the bulldozers have not been restricted to Warri and Effurun alone. They have been taken to Sapele to also effect the demolition of structures blocking God’s given natural water ways. The Environment Commissioner while supervising the exercise in Sapele assured that other major flood-prone towns which include Ughelli and Bomadi will be visited by his team.
It is noteworthy that the Delta State Government has taken serious steps on the need for healthy and clean environments. There is obviously the need for the populace to imbibe positive environmental habits and avoid depositing their waste and filth indiscriminately. This constitutes health hazards and most times block drainage channels. It was no surprise, therefore, when Chief Omare announced the state government’s decision to close down Igbudu Market in Warri over poor sanitary conditions. He directed the traders to clean up the market within seven days “as we cannot fold our hands and watch the people trade on top of refuse.”
BY AUSTINE ETAGHENE