Category: Environmental Sustainability

Everything that has to do with environment and stainability, #EarthHour, #Sustainaware

COUNTING THE COST: COAL IN NIGERIA’S ENERGY MIX

Hamzat Lawal December 16, 2016 0

Global Rights organized a town hall meeting, which brought together stakeholders in Nigeria’s energy sector, including government, coal mining companies & their host communities, the media and civil society. The meeting was for a debate on coal in Nigeria’s energy mix considering the challenges the country suffers from energy deficit that is negatively affecting its socio-economic development and practically every other part of its national life. Because energy sources in Nigeria can no longer meet demand, the Federal Government, therefore proposed alongside with other sources to meet 30% of Nigeria’s energy local need demand from coal energy without considering the implication of utilizing coal as a source of energy in Nigeria.

Key Highlights from the Meeting:

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Looking at an overview of global trend on coal energy, coal was accountable for emitting 14.2 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (C02). That is 44% of all energy associated carbon dioxide emissions and more than one-quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions. In other words, no other energy source other than coal contributes as much greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, digging up coal to generate electricity stirs out emissions that escalate greenhouse effect and because coal is pure carbon, it is one of the enormous sources of climate change. However, coal is burned to manufacture heat and electricity that emits a lot of CO2 along with some quantities of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N20). (Friends of the Earth International, COAl ATLAS 2015).

Usually, producing electricity from coal is harmful to the climate, most gas powered plants releases only half as much as carbon dioxide as modern coal-fired power stations. This is why most coal mining companies in advanced countries are shutting down because of the enormous effect it has on the environment and health of the people which in turn will adversely affect sustainable development.

(Okobo Community Traditional Rulers explaining the ordeal they are facing)

Nigeria really need to consider the concept of trade-off, looking at the cost of ownership which covers short term benefit and long term cost. As a coal mining company in Okobo community in Kogi State is already affecting the people and their sources of livelihood.

Nigeria’s proposed utilization of 30% of coal is definitely going to jeopardize our commitment to the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) to The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement. Focusing on coal as energy source will only give us short term benefit and long term cost, as a country we should look at other sources of energy which will benefit us more in the long run.

In addition, the Federal government of Nigeria could consider cleaner alternatives to coal such as windmill energy: which is dependent on available wind, has no impact on landscape and no emission of carbon dioxide, Biomass energy: from wood, crops, landfill gas, alcohol fuels and garbage. By using biomass in power production instead of fossil fuel, C02 emissions are significantly reduced. Hydro power plants have a long economic life with no fuel cost and lastly solar energy which is the fastest growing renewable energy source. All these are cleaner and achievable sources of energy which we could take as a country to meet our energy demand.

SAY NO TO COAL…

MARRAKECH COP 22: National Civil Society Consultative Forum at Heinrich Boll Hall, Abuja

Hamzat Lawal November 22, 2016 220

Climate change is a global issue that does not respect national border. Looking at the science behind climate change, we are not referring to weather; weather and climate change are not the same thing. Weather can change from season to season, even hour to hour and sometimes when you least expect it. In other words, weather reflects short-term conditions in the atmosphere while climate change on the other hand, refers to the average temperature and precipitation rates over a long period of time.

It was a wonderful time as several civil societies met at the Heinrich Boll Hall, Abuja to look at the way forward, since climate change has become an essential part of reality. Global warming is already having severe impact on our socio-economic development, human health, food, wildlife and ecosystems more than we can imagine. Furthermore, The Paris Agreement that was adopted last year during COP21 to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change comprises a landslide agreement in global efforts to mitigate climate change and also prepare countries through adaptive actions to reduce global warming below 20c.

WHAT NIGERIA IS DOING TO ADDRESS THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE

The acting Director, Department of Climate Change of Federal Ministry of Environment, Dr. Peter Tarfa, gave a brief overview of what the Nigerian Government is doing to reduce the impact of climate change. He stated that government priority is on the issue of how to adapt to climate change impact, reduce deforestation and also create policy and strategies to help in reducing effect of climate change. National adaptation plan has been mapped out and the issues of capacity building, finance have been captured in the plan. However, Nigeria will observe annual knowledge fare on climate change by bringing expertise together with a theme that affect Nigeria; whereby everyone will bring out what they are doing in respect of climate change thereafter all will be put together to see how it can be used to address the issue.

In addition, government will also address the issues of assessing the global climate finance fund from international partners. In this regards, the Ministry of Environment climate finance desk have been given two years mandate to triple assess to global climate funds. However, Nigeria’s national climate policy requires policy intervention, it is due for review because it does not have current capacity to carry out the emerged climate change issues.

WHAT TO DO WITH PARIS AGREEMENT

After the ratification of the Paris Agreement it became a commitment. The five major areas that are Nigeria’s priority are power, oil & gas, transportation, agriculture, and industry. Nigeria’s priority in COP22 are assessing the global climate finance, let the framework be available, to get international funding to loss and damages e.g. flooding and elements for Paris Agreement to be dished out. As we all know, the Minister of Environment mandate is to empower people, tackle climate change and protect the environment.

 

DFID PARTNERSHIP TO ENGAGE, REFORM AND LEARN (PERL): MAPPING OF NATIONAL CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS

Hamzat Lawal October 24, 2016 0

The civil society mapping forum held on October 21, 2016 at Bolton White Hotel, Abuja, organized by DFID (PERL), basically brought civil society groups from various part of the country together to deliberate and share experiences of what they do and how they can work with other society groups that have the same thematic work area. To this effect, various civil society organizations were in attendance including Connected Development (CODE).

PERL is about service delivery and is divided into three aspects which are as follows: ARC work with government, ECP engage citizen with government and LEAP looks at the lessons from ECP to enable government use the lesson to achieve a goal.

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Furthermore, there was a group interactive session that enables civil society groups to share what they do in details and the breakout sessions covering thematic areas such as good governance, corruption, budget, education, health, environment, agriculture using various approach like advocacy capacity building, publicity, research and to mention by a few, enable groups to identify and network with groups that have same objectives. In addition, effective ways for citizens to engage with government was suggested using the Freedom of Information Act to enable citizens hold government accountable and to promote transparency.

 

CODE :The Future We See through Follow The Money Newsroom.

Hamzat Lawal July 19, 2016 4

A non-governmental organisation Follow The Money, an initiative of Connected Development (CODE)Connected Development (CODE) is set to launch “Virtual Newsroom.

The products from the Virtual Newsroom is set to further engage and empower more marginalized people in rural communities to enhance their livelihoods.

DOTUNSpeaking at an In-house training organised by CODE, the monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Oludotun Babayemi said Follow The Money is planning  a virtual newsroom that will run 24 hours – several times in a month with the objective of strengthening the voice of 95 million Nigerians leaving in rural communities in Nigeria, while increasing their participation in governance.

He said it’s important to have a participatory kind of discussion on how the newsroom is meant to look like, who’s doing what and create a larger workflow other than the one we have been using.

“We are talking about a newsroom that has over 60 reporters reporting into it from remote places. This means we need a robust, scalable and efficient framework other than the one we were using before. We thought it will be good to have a meeting to deliberate, discuss, make comments and suggestions about how the newsroom is meant to look like and also decide on the future of Follow The money,”he said.

The Monitoring and Evaluation officer, said Follow the Money is always motivated by stories from rural communities, which never gets into the mainstream media, adding that  every time there is a visit , they hear about new stories, not just for the success alone but of  failures of communities that are still ailing other than the ones that  are focused on.

He added that it is always motivating  that the group  can do more and  can have more people to do more.

“We are looking at the massive strength in the young people that we have, we can engage more of them and we can also have more communities that will be proactively vigilant in ensuring transparency and accountability of funds meant for their communities as well. These are the motivation for Follow The Money,” he said.

Speaking on the challenges, Babayemi said the challenges the movement  might face is keeping that of  retaining human resources and availability of financial resources
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“Some people might leave at some point  because  we can’t bring in 60-75 people and expect them to only be focused on our mission and goal. Some people would think of something else such as thinking of another movement from there. Both are the critical challenges we are looking forward to as we move on.,”he said

He further called on the general public to be on the lookout for new radio programs that will come up especially Follow the Money radio, adding that radio is what people in the rural communities rely on to get information.

Mr. Babayemi explained that Follow the Money radio will be used in increasing rural community participation on governance as it concerns implementation of funds meant for capital projects in their communities l.

“ They should look out for some of our bulletins and prints that we would want to share with them on the money we are following and money for the community and also on what the government is saying about such money should be something interesting the communities should be looking forward to,”he said.

Well in the next 15  years, the vision will be to see the present 95 million Nigerians living in rural communities listening and engaging their leaders through the Follow the Money Radio, likewise, seeing 50%  of that population sending in feedback to Follow the Money via SMS and our various online portal. Mr Babayemi noted

He said these target audience  could also be able to read about  Follow the Money In  online and offline bulletins or magazines.

“In essence, seeing  Follow the Money as a community mechanism where they can also read about their own community, and get their voices amplified is the future we see through Follow the Money and I hope that we will be able to achieve that,” he said.

 

    

 

Group seeks partnership with CODE on Stop don’t Drop campaign.

Hamzat Lawal June 28, 2016 2

The Stop Don’t Drop group in collaboration with Chanja Datti seeks partnership with Connected Development (CODE) in creating awareness on Environment sustainability and anti-littering stance.

Speaking at an interactive section held at CODE office in Abuja, the convener/Initiator of “Stop Don’t Drop”, Adiza Ujo said a research was conducted shortly after the fuel scarcity hit Nigeria.

She said the outcome of the research showed that many car owners who queued to buy fuel ended up buying eatables after which they littered the environment with wraps of whatever was bought.

“We found out the long queues at the filling Station led to more dirty in our environment, because while they wait for their turns to buy fuel the just buy “Gala and Lacaserra” drinks after which they just throw on the floor,”she said.

Ms Ujo noted that it is therefore necessary to enlighten the public on the use of waste bin or trash bags to deposit waste.

She further added that aside from depositing refuse dumps, such waste could be recycled into other products.

Also speaking,the Managing Director of Chanjia Datti, Ms Funto Boroffice said its not just about throwing dirty into trash bags, adding that when a trash  bag  could be returned back to the company for recycling.

She said it’s a way of also keeping the environment clean and to also create avenues for cab drivers to earn more income regardless of how little it may be

“Our focus are cab drivers and Keke riders, we intend to give them bag so that there passengers can throw their dirty in it,

“Once this is done the cab drivers are meant to bring back the bags to us with the dirty in it, after which they could either get recharge cards or a liter of fuel”, she said.

IMG-20160628-WA004She said that about 50,000 or more stickers will also be launched, adding that the stickers will be at the bumper of every cabs and keke in Abuja environs.

“The essence of this stickers is to help car owners stop littering the road with dirty, by throwing it out the window while driving,

“I am certain that when the car behind the one that  has a sticker that says “Stop don’t Drop” , he or she will think twice and not throw the dirty outside the window, “she said.

The Chief Executive of CODE, Hamzat Lawal, commended the group for this initiative, adding that CODE will assist in any possible way it can.

“I think it’s important that it is also treated at the senate level, whereby a bill is passed on that effect alongside policies,”he said.

He added that CODE will ensure the media helps broadcasts this initiative so that the information can get to the public as wide and fast as possible

“ We would try and engage  BBC Hausa to help amplifier alongside Wazobia fm, we could also make any of the Host on Wazobia fm an ambassador,”he said.

The monitoring and Evaluation manager of CODE, Oladotun Babayemi, suggested that everybody not just car owners or Keke riders should also engage themselves in recycling.

” i would advice you start publicity through congregation, it would help a lot in sending the message across,”he said.

Chanja Datti is committed to transforming waste to value with an increasing demand to rid the environment of non-biodegradable waste materials.

Stop don’t Drop seeks a green trash free environment.

 

 

Group faults government poor management of lead contamination in Shikira

Hamzat Lawal June 27, 2016 2

By Etta Michael Bisong

Connected Development (CODE), a non-governmental and not for profit organisation monitoring the lead poisoning outbreak in Shikira, has condemned the federal government over the poor handling of the disaster that claimed 30 lives and leaving over 300 hundred others with high level lead contaminants in their blood.
The group is particularly angry that this year’s raining season has began; yet the government is still uncertain over the specific date when remediation will commence to save children below the ages of five in the small rural mining community.
Hamzat Lawal, Chief Executive Officer of the organisation in an interview with journalists in Abuja, urged the government to stop being conservative and be more transparent on management of the exercise so as to tackle it appropriately.
“The truth is that time is running out,” Lawal said. “Federal Government should come up with a clear work plan including date, data and timeline for the clean-up of Shikira.”
He decried that the situation is even more worrisome as Médecins sans Frontières (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders, an international network of humanitarian services provider has threatened to leave the community. MSF after realising the outbreak in April 2015 volunteered to render free medical services to the victims, but on the condition that the environment is first remediation to avoid duplication of treatment.
The CODE’s helmsman also frowned at the selective attitude of the government towards participating in activities and engaging with civil society groups working in the affected community.
“I am not happy that relevant agencies of government, especially the federal ministry of Environment, Solid Minerals and Health are not present at this important meeting after sending invitations ahead of time,” he said. “It shows us to what extent that the government value the lives of our vulnerable children who are in urgent need of medical attention.”
However, Lawal commended the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for passing a resolution mandating the Executive arm of government to embark on a total clean up of the impact site without further contemplation.
He urged the Senate to also look into and review the 2007 Mining Act to reflect current realities so as to properly integrate activities of artisanal miners to address the problems bedeviling the sector in the country.
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Simba Tirima, representative of TerraGraphics, the organisation that conducted analysis of the environmental characterisation and  impact of the devastation, said over 500,000 mg/kg Pb of lead contaminants were found in some parts of the village.
This outrageous figure, he hinted contradict the the United States Environmental Protection Agency threshold of  400 mg/kg Pb for residential soil.
Tirima advised the federal government to partner with victims and members of the affected community as well as other rights groups to ensure proper coordination in tackling the epidemic.
The minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, visited Shikira recently and declared it a national disaster.
Mohammed after her assessment tour concluded that there was urgent need to clean up the environment to protect other children from further exposure of the contamination and restore back livelihood in the community.

While government, environmental rights as well as humanitarian groups continue to brainstorm on various methods of solving the menace, it is important to note that over 300 children are still living with high level lead poison in their blood with many others vulnerable to further contamination.

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Shikira Community: When Will Remediation Begin?

Hamzat Lawal June 17, 2016 0

Over 300 children living with high lead level in their blood and needs urgent medical treatment

We are highly shocked over the Federal Government inability to announce a specific date when remediation of Shikira will commence one year after the LEAD contamination that ravened the small rural mining community located in Rafi LGA in Niger State.  And this is even more worrisome considering the fact that the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed recently visited the area and declared it a national disaster.

It is noteworthy to highlight here that the minister during one of her meetings with civil society bodies and other relevant stakeholders in the sector disclosed that the sum of N300 million has been included in the 2016 budget for clear-up of the contaminated site, but the truth is that time is running out as the rainy season has just begin and would disrupt the exercise and spread to other neighboring communities if remediation do not commence immediately.

Also, it is on record that Follow The Money team after discovering the epidemic in April 2015 alerted necessary pubic officials of the incident and called for urgent intervention to enable occupants of the community adapt to the ugly event that claimed 28 lives and infected over 300 children mostly those below five years old.

It is exciting that Doctors Without Borders, a specialized body that render humanitarian services has indicated interest to provide free health services but on the condition that the environment must first be cleared of any contaminant.

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While we acknowledge the minister for the move demonstrated by visiting the impact site to assess the level of devastation, a sign that reinforces hope that work may begin soon, we are also very concern about when the funds would be released to commence the actual clean-up.

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Furthermore, we want the government to be open, transparent and accountable on how the funds are expected to be utilized including a work plan specifying project timeline, data and concrete steps on execution of the exercise.

While we laud the Senate for swiftly passing a resolution compelling the Executive arm of government to urgently embark on total clean-up of Shikira following the outbreak, Follow The Money team is in addition calling the lawmakers who has recently committed to reviewing the 2007 Mining Act to ensure empowering artisanal and small scale miners so as to mitigate risks and ensure safety in mining practices in Nigeria.

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We also want government to prosecute individuals who are out rightly reckless about their jobs and possibly put them behind detention to serve as deterrent to others and foster sanity in the system.

On our part as an organisation we will continue to pressure the government on the need to release the fund for the project and ensure that we provide the public with timely and accurate information of how the funds are been utilized to capture the voices of marginalized citizens.

Signed:

Hamzat Lawal

Cheif Executive, CODE

Co-Founder, Follow The Money

Please feel free to contact me or my colleague Amina Mohammed for interview, more information or clarification (aminz@connecteddevelopment.org or +2348033009722).

‘It is our collective responsibility to accelerate the implementation of SDGs’  – Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed

Hamzat Lawal June 10, 2016 0

Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, who has been one of the major influencers of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) launched late last year in New Yok has reiterated her stance on SDGs once again at the inaugural town hall meeting tagged ‘Buharimeter’in Abuja yesterday.

Amina posited that the role environment plays in actualising each of these Global Goals (SDGs) cannot be overemphasised hence it’s important that all Nigerian citizens get involved in its implementations so as to accelerate and maximise its impacts on our nation’s overall economic growth.  ‘We cannot leave everything for the government to do, Yes, Ministers are public servants and it is a privileged to be one, but things would only work perfectly if we can earn your cooperation and work together in achieving all these goals. She stated that this administration would ensure that its delivers on all its promises at addressing security issues, ensuring steady infrastructural development and revamping the economy.

The Minister, who had earlier visited the lead poisoning affected communities in Niger State like Shikira, mentioned that the emergency response to remediation of these communities would commence as soon as the fund for the remediation is approved by the Federal Government. “In collaboration with Ministry of Solid Minerals, we will commence the remediation of these affected communities in Niger State’ she alluded.

The Buharimeter Townhall Meeting was organised by Centre For Democracy and Development (CDD) aimed at assessing the one year in office of President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) government. The event had five federal Ministers in attendance namely: Lai Mohammed (Information and Culture), Babatunde Fashola (Power, Works, and Housing), Audu Ogbeh (Agriculture and Rural Development), Amina Mohammed (Environment), and Udo Udoma (Budget and National Planning).

 

Five ways to avoid public Urination

Hamzat Lawal June 6, 2016 0

In celebration of the world environment day, i choose to come up with this little write up, aside from hygiene. this is also a means advocating for safe, green and habitable environment

Five ways to avoid public urination in Nigeria.

I have always wondered why a well-dressed man, apparently driving in an expensive car, would pull up by the roadside, unzip his trousers and pull out his manhood to urinate.

The funny part is you see them using their hands to cover the side shaft of the manhood on both sides while the urine projects into the earth below.Thereby polluting the air, and  killing our beautiful green plants . Some just bend their upper body backwards a bit, pushing their waist out while supporting it with their right hand and the other left holding the manhood. Some just pull down their pants and bend down.

Little did I know that ladies also urinate by the roadside, I freaked out when I saw a lady in Abuja around 2pm doing the same on top the the beautiful green grasses by the road side. She was dressed in her pink skirt and a blue top, she stood by the expressway, opened her legs while standing with her hands beneath the skirt.

From afar I watched the long urine gush out from between her legs. The sight of it got me so irritated and curious.The relief you often find on their faces suggest most people who urinate in the open, in public area, possibly have held the urine for so long and just couldn’t go an inch further with their heavy bladder.

For men, once they are done, they angle it to shake off the last drops before returning it  back to their trousers. Sometimes, urine droplets lands on their hands, and even their trousers. Many would just go ahead and rub their hands on their trouser and then walk away. This is highly unhygienic.

Most women would stamp their feet on the ground twice for the last drop of urine to fall out then they clean with tissue papers or rinse through with water

Nature calls are sometimes difficult to cheat.  But passing it out for the public to see is a no no, aesthetically and hygienically.  More so it is highly not lady like for women to be seen squatting by the roadside to pass urine.

Avoiding public defecation is a huge challenge in Nigeria as most city planners do not provide for such emergencies. Many cities are without public toilets and restroom. But here are five simple things you can do to help you avoid being pressed in places you may not have access to toilets, and how to react if nature calls unexpectedly.

  1. Use the toilet before stepping out: This is very important to all of us.No  matter where ever you are, once you know it’s time to step out from where you are ensure you use the toilet to pass out whatever it is from your body system.This should be done a second before you walk out of the door to your car.
  1. Self Discipline: This has got to to do with the mindset, once you can discipline yourself from every other thing, then you could discipline yourself from Urinating by the road side.
  1. Parental Upbringing: Growing up as a child, my teacher will tell me “Charity begins at home”. Parents should learn to teach their kids that Urinating by the roadside is wrong and they shall grow up with such training and of course pass it on to their own kids.

4.Make use of Eatery or Bank: Over time I have heard babes say they are shy of telling people they want to use the toilet,but really though we are all use the toilet no matter how classic we are. When you feel pressed walk into a bank or an eatery and head straight to gents or ladies and I can assure you,no one will stop to question.

  1. Make use of a secluded area: This will fall in place of when you can not locate a bank or an eatery. Once you get so pressed ensure you look for a well secluded corner where no one can see you but then again be conscious of secluded areas.

Let help save our plants in our environment.  Happy environmental day all.

CODE Marks World Environment Day by Planting More Trees in Schools

Hamzat Lawal June 3, 2016 0

In commemorating this year World Environment Day, Connected Development has once again taken the lead in advocating for safe, green and habitable environment by organising tree planting event in some schools in Abuja. One of the beneficiary schools was Abuja Children Home in Karu, FCT which was also one of the schools that benefited from similar tree planting project put together by CODE in 2015.  The event which was supported National Orientation Agency (NOA), having sent a representative to speak to students, also had in attendance, Hour With A Book representative, a project that seeks to promote the reading culture in Nigeria.

According to Dotun Roy, Programme Officer, CODE while educating the students on the importance of tree planting to human existence. “Climate Change is the major enemy of environment and we must endeavour to seek ways to fight and protect ourselves from the negative effect associated with it by planting more trees in order to create more shades and trap the CO2”  He shared how planting more tress could help in mitigating the effects of climate change in Nigeria and parts of the world. These students, out of curiousity and inquisition asked several questions about climate change and its relation to soil erosion, flooding and global warming. “How can we solve the problem of erosion?” asked abdulmalik one of the curious students.

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NOA Representative, Mrs Stella, who spoke to the students on how their attitude to their environment could either bring about either good or bad consequences on their health, education and their mental development, said the pupils should endeavours to inform their parents of how beneficial it could be for them to desist from those activities/practices that may compound the effects of climate change in Nigeria, such practices as indiscriminate cutting of trees, dumping of refuse in the waterways, canals and drainage, excessive use of generating sets and burning of used tyres.

Mr Ismaila, Coordinator, Hour With A Book, who donated “Climate of Change” a novel  written on climate change to the students, expressed his concerned about the devastating effect of climate change in the country. “High temperature caused by excessive heat from sunlight is causing a lot of discomfort for people at night causing them sleepless nights and during day” He said this climatic condition is becoming unbearable for people particularly those living in the far Northern part of the country.

The event was concluded by planting of trees and naming each tree after few students for them to take ownership of the trees and give them proper care necessary for their survival.