Rotary Club Eco Rivers State says it is seeking collaborative efforts to fight environmental challenges in Rivers state and the Niger Delta.
Speaking to Newsmen on the sideline of his installation ceremony as the 3rd President, Rotary club of Port Harcourt Eco and the induction of the Board of Directors last week , Rtn. Dr Anthony Ikpor says that the club “is dedicated to bringing solutions to the environmental challenges in Rivers state and the Niger Delta area” even as he employed the general public, good spirited individuals and the government to work towards a healthy and sustainable environment.
Continuing, Ikpor maintained that the mangrove trees have been depleted and destroyed and that was what Rotary Club Eco is fighting to reclaim by planting over 20, 000 trees both economic and aesthetic in the few years to come.
Speaking further, Ikpor, a Doctorate degree holder in Political Science (International Relations)from the University of Nigeria Nssuka and and an alumnus of Abia State university Uturu who is also an astute banking executive, averred that “globally the environment( climate change) was of serious concern that needed attention among scientists, researchers, policy makers state and non state actors as a result of its dire consequences on man and his activities.”
According to him, the nature and manifestation of climate change is evident in the continued increase in temperature, variable rain fall, rise in sea level, flooding, drought and desertification, land degradation, extreme weather conditions, water scarcity, loss of biodiversity among others.
Ikpor, an award winning management consultant and member, Nigerian Institute of management and a versatile business negotiator, noted that based on the above, it has become a thrust of the Rotary club Port Harcourt Eco to create an awareness campaign on climate change mitigation and adoption with a view to reducing and curbing greenhouse gas emissions and vulnerability of climate change through the club’s lofty projects to the people .
He listed such projects as Saving Mother and child project, an Advocacy for family planning for women of Reproductive age, monthly environmental sanitation and awareness campaign/Advocacy in schools and public places and donation of receptacles, Tree planting Advocacy in public places and mangrove preservation campaigns
Others include community sensitization on flooding and provision of direct succor to direct victims, Pad-a girl project and scholarship for four indigent students in Nigerian universities and waste to wealth project which he said would be in collaboration with corporate bodies and sister clubs.
In his contribution, the President elect Rotary Eco, Rtn. Dr Bieye Renner Briggs scored government low on their effort to ensure an environmental and friendly Eco system.
He said the environment provides everything we need, air, water, medicine, all the comfort we need but human beings must reciprocate the gesture by ensuring that we protect and conserve it for healthy living by planting trees and cleaning up the environment.
On the government involvement in environmental advocacy, Dr Briggs, who is a public health physician and an environmental advocate, lambasted the government for not doing enough.
According to him, he could only score the government 15%, saying government is supposed to protect the environment with the numerous environmental laws but the reverse was the case noting that for two weeks now, there were two incidents of oil spillage in Ogoni axis of Rivers state without concrete efforts by the company concern to stop the spillage.
He therefore called on the people and government to always take the issue of the environment seriously for a healthy living.
Also speaking, the chairperson, installation committee, Rtn. Sele May Aso described Rtn. Dr. Anthony Ikpor as a dedicated, committed, professional and passionate member who has exhibited high values and dexterity even as she expressed her unwavering belief that Rtn Anthony will push for actionable policies that would impact positively on the environment, noting, that “Rotary Port Harcourt Eco chartered three years ago is the first in Nigeria and second in Africa with a unique focus on the environment, equipped with the vision and mission of ensuring a pollution free and safe environment for all ” She however, enjoined every member to adopt the Rotary 4-Way Test in everything they do even as the club inaugurated new board and new members.
Earlier, the chartered President, Rotary club Eco, Port Harcourt Rtn. Emem Okon who had showered encomium on Rtn. Dr Anthony Ikpor as a reliable, humble, accommodating and dedicated Rotarian who is interested in the environment said she has no doubt in her mind that Ikpor would perform optimally for the protection of the EcoSystem and betterment of the Niger Delta people whose environment has been devastated over the years.
In his valedictory speech, the immediate Past president, Rotary Port Harcourt Eco Rtn Davis Okarevu has stressed the need for a successful succession in every association saying that “it is a truism that as a leader one will ascend to lead and play his part then give way for others to lead too” insisting that he believed that was the greatest achievement of a leader. He then thanked all his members for their support during his tenure.
The event also featured an exhibition, lecture by Prof. Winston Bell-Gam on Mitigating Flood in Niger Delta Region, fund Raising among others.
By Bon Peters (Port Harcourt, Rivers State.)