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Issues of Biosecurity, key to National Security – DG Biosafety Agency

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The Director General (DG) National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA), Dr Rufus Ebegba, on Monday said that issues of biosecurity are key to national security.

Ebegba said this in Abuja at the public presentation of National Biosafety Guidelines on Genetically Modified (GM) plants with stacked genes and GM fish.

“We have put in place biosecurity policies, we are at the verge of presenting it for stakeholders to further understand how this policy will be implemented.

“In the area of insecurity in our country, we are very much aware of the way the world is going,” he said.

Ebegba said that the policy had adequately addressed the area of bio-terrorism that might likely occur.

The DG said that the agency is in collaboration with stakeholders to prevent the unintentional release of harmful biological agents.

“We must ensure that we properly curtail them so that they are not released to the environment,” Ebegba said.

Similarly, the Country Coordinator, Programme for Biosafety System (PBS) Dr Matthew Dore, applauded the presentation of the document.

“We in PBS are happy to be associated with this policy,” Dore said.

He said that the document seeks to guide practitioners and stakeholders on modern technology.

Dore commended NBMA for its efforts to ensure development in the biotechnology field especially with the application and the challenges of regulating it. (NAN)

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Environment

Erosion Control Project: Gombe SEC Approves N389m Compensation for Residents

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The Gombe State Executive Council (SEC) has approved payment of N389 million as compensation for residents that would be affected by the gully erosion control project at Federal College of Education (FCE) Technical and its surrounding communities.

The Commissioner for Finance, Gombe State, Malam Mohammed Magaji, stated this at the end of the SEC meeting on Friday in Gombe.

Magaji said the payment, which would commence immediately, would be for individuals and organisations along the gully erosion site.

He said almost 1000 persons were expected to benefit from the gesture.

According to him, the compensation is part of the requirements of the World Bank, which specifies that such payments be made to property owners.

Magaji said the payment would also be made to ensure seamless resettlement of affected persons.

“The beneficiaries are in hundreds, almost a 1,000 people; there is compensation for houses, and also for business premises.

“There is also stipends for the elderly living around that area so that they are able to have good livelihood,” he said.

The commissioner for Education, Hajiya Aishatu Maigari, also said the SEC approved upgrade of the five mega senior secondary schools in the state to sustain improvement in the education sector.

Maigari said the upgrade would be carried out based on the needs of each of the schools.

She stated that infrastructure in some of the schools were already being upgraded to global standards.

“We have seen construction of toilets, installation of solar-powered light, construction of roads, school clinics, boreholes and many more,” she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the state government had on Nov. 23 signed a N12 billion contract with Triacta Nigeria Ltd. for a 21-kilometre gully erosion control work in six communities within Gombe metropolis.

The project is under ACRESAL project, a World Bank-assisted project to address the challenges of land degradation and climate change in northern Nigeria. (NAN)

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Fire Razes Household Properties Estimated at Millions of Naira

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The Ebonyi Fire Service, on Tuesday confirmed that a fire incident destroyed properties estimated at millions of naira at the residence of Mr Chris Uchaji, a former commissioner in the state.

Mr Raphael Ibiam, the Chief Fire Officer of the agency, said that the inferno was suspected to have been caused by an electrical spark within the building.

He explained that the fire razed valuable household properties in three rooms of the storey building.

He said no life was lost in the incident as his men responded promptly and was later assisted by the Federal Fire Service.

“At about 0800 hours, there was a fire outbreak at 13 Lawrence Ónór street, off Nna street.

“It destroyed properties in a storey building belonging to Mr Chris Uchaji, a Former State Commissioner for Solid Mineral Development,” Ibiam said.

Uchaji told newsmen shortly after the incident, that he was at the stadium with his wife for morning exercise when he received a distress call from his security man that his family house was on fire.

“We quickly rushed to the scene, only to see many people on a rescue mission as the whole house had been engulfed.

“I suspected it was due to an electrical spark and it started in my wife’s room, where my six-year-old daughter was sleeping.

“The intensity of the fire was high and it spread to other rooms, causing massive damage, but thank God no life was lost.

“I thank God for people’s goodwill and the fire service. Though the state fire service came here, their water finished early, but with the intervention of federal firefighters, they were able to control the fire.” Uchaji said.(NAN)

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Nigeria’s NGO Takes Plights of Local Communities to COP28

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Connected Advocacy for Empowerment and Youth Development, a Nigeria-based NGO, has called for the involvement of local communities in decision-making on climate solutions in order to build a sense of responsibility and unity.

Mr Israel Orekha, Executive Director of the NGO, made the call on Monday in his address at a side event organised at the ongoing COP28 in Dubai.

“The event is themed “Putting Local Community First in Climate Agenda.

’’

Orekha advocated policy changes that incentivised and prioritised sustainable practices at the local and national levels

According to him, empowering communities through participation will ensure that solutions align with local needs.

He also called for inclusive policies that addressed both environmental and social aspects of clean energy transitions.

The executive director particularly canvassed for the consideration of local community in the clean energy transition plan.

The local community, he said, needed clean energy transition parks and not false solutions.

“Clean energy transition parks not only combat climate change but also strengthen community resilience.

“Local involvement in these parks is key to addressing pressing environmental challenges.

“Beyond jobs, clean energy engagement enhances community knowledge about sustainable practices.

“Involving communities in clean energy decisions fosters responsibility and unity.

“Local job opportunities and skill development can result from participation in the renewable energy sector.”

Orekha also underscored the importance of transparency in decision-making processes so as to discern genuine solutions from greenwashing.

“False solutions can perpetuate environmental injustice, disproportionately affecting marginalised communities.

“False solutions, like greenwashing, hinder genuine progress.

“Thorough research and community input are essential for sustainable solutions,’’ he said.

Reports says that clean energy parks are separate areas used and planned for the purpose of clean energy development, like wind and solar generation facilities.(NAN)

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