Senate remains committed to tackling flooding, gas flaring: Ned Nwoko

Sen. Ned Nwoko (PDP-Delta), and Senate vice chairman on environment, has disclosed that the Senate was resolute in addressing environmental degradation in the country.

Mr Nwoko, representing Delta North Senatorial District, disclosed this on Sunday to journalists in Abuja.

He noted that the major issue of environmental degradation was erosion which hugely affected his home state, Delta, particularly the North Senatorial District.

He said another major issue was flooding, affecting more than 13 states across the country and five local government areas in the Delta North Senatorial District.

He added that another issue of environmental degradation had to do with pollution.

According to him, pollution is caused by the reckless disposal of waste all over the place and pollution from gas flaring that is hazardous to the environment and people’s health.

“Then you have a pipeline, that is crude oil, pipeline vandalism and the spillage when they are vandalised.

“The spillage, when Navy and Air Force personnel bomb illegal crude vessels and the spillage that comes from such destruction, or even when our joint task forces, you know, seek to stop illegal refining by some locals.”

Mr Nwoko disclosed that starting with the erosions, the Senate was already dealing with the issue.

“We have done some compilations of such sites and they have been put in the next budget to address them as a matter of urgency because some lives are threatened, homes are threatened, some villages are cut off.

“But of course, the flooding is a major issue because when it comes annually, it devastates the entire surrounding communities.

“We have made it clear now to the president that two things must be done to avoid this annual crisis that we know is going to happen, yet we wait for it to happen without doing anything about it.

“So those two things must be done at a huge cost, and it doesn’t matter about the cost because the governments are in the business of spending money for the well-being and welfare of the people.

“So if we don’t have the money to complete the dam that was already started some years ago up north, this dam was meant to accommodate the spilt water from the Cameroonian dams.

“If it’s not economically viable to complete that dam that was abandoned some years ago, then we need to build a new one. It is something that has to be done,” he said.

The lawmaker also said that there was a need to dredge the River Niger.

“It is also compulsory that we must dredge the River Niger and, in so doing, build embankments across the shoreline and the waterfront areas.

“We are also trying to focus on stopping gas flaring and imposing huge penalties on those who flare gas and make them comply with international best practices.

“Really, you can’t get gas flaring in America, or Canada or in Romania, or some other oil-producing communities in the West because they must comply with pollution levels acceptable laws as stipulated by WHO and other such bodies.

“But of course, because Nigeria is Nigeria, they feel they can trample upon us and get away with it. No, not anymore. Not under our watch. The 10th assembly will be different.

“We will breathe down their neck, and we must make sure that they respect humanity; they must respect human lives.

“They must understand that it’s unacceptable to destroy the ecosystem, destroy the habitations or the habitats and destroy human lives just because they’re making money,” Mr Nwoko also said.