I welcome you to the 45th World Environment Day. This is a day set aside for creating awareness and outreach on the dangers of today’s human activities on the environment and the urgent need to protect it for future generations.
Environmental protection is a major trust of my administration. We are deeply committed to a safe environment for our people. I hope that the significance of this event will not be lost on our citizens.
The United Nations, aware that the protection and improvement of the human environment is a major issue which affects the well-being and economic development of peoples throughout the world, designated 5th June as World Environment Day.
This year’s celebration provides us with an opportunity as a new administration to broaden the basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals, businesses and communities in preserving and enhancing our environment. This responsibility is binding and serious. Since 1974, the World Environment Day has grown to become a global platform for public outreach, widely celebrated in over 100 Countries.
What we do or fail to do with regard to our environment today, favourably or adversely affects our future. Our children and their children will berate us if we permit the reckless abuse of our ecosystem.
All over the World, countries have set environmental protection agendas and milestones.
Responsible governments are working assiduously to actualize them. Our Legislature has over time enacted laudable protective environmental safety laws in concert with Global best practices but past administrations have failed to implement them. This Government shall act differently.
To this end, our administration shall diligently strive to do the following, going forward:
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as required by Law shall become imperative for developmental projects in Imo State. All dredging activities on Nworie River and around the confluence of Nworie/Otamiri Rivers are hereby suspended until requisite EIA Reports by the dredgers are recertified.
The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources shall resume its regular duty of regulating mining activities in the State.
All remaining Forest Reserves in the State are to be protected including but not limited to, the 9.68sq kilometer Ohaji Egbema Forest Reserve, Forest Reserves in Okigwe, Forest Reserves in Oguta, All Forest Reserves in Mgbidi, All Reserves in Orlu and all other forest Reserves in other parts of the State.
Our government shall take steps to preserve all State Forest Reserves that have been devastated by past political actors shall be recovered and preserved to their intended and original purposes.
Botanical and Zoological Gardens in the State shall be upgraded to Department of Wildlife and Nature Reserves in line with conventional national practices. This is to further enhance conservation of our wildlife and natural resources.
Imo State is hereby declared an environment friendly State. All agencies responsible for waste management must be alive to their responsibilities.
All Ministries, departments and agencies saddled with requisite duties and responsibilities shall henceforth initiate damage control measures on roads and communities threatened by gully erosion and irresponsible excavations. Our administration shall undertake aggressive erosion control measures.
All encroachment into protected Watersheds and Green Belt Areas shall be recovered and restored in accordance with relevant laws protecting such facilities.
We shall embark on an aggressive waste to wealth program.
We shall take appropriate steps to preserve and upgrade the Nekede Zoological Garden. Our administration is determined to return Imo State to its glory as the cleanest and most environment friendly State in Nigeria. This is in line with making Imo State the preferred Tourist destination in Nigeria.
Our geo-location confers upon us an advantage which we must take and enhance, not destroy and devastate. During my time in the National Assembly, I facilitated the building of a multi-million Naira Waste Recycling Plant at Ilile, Ohaji Egbema LGA, a facility that has capacity to convert our waste to wealth as well as create a cleaner environment for human, animal and plant life. I will ensure that that facility will be put to use as soon as possible.
I use this opportunity to salute the United Nations for this annual Global Platform which educates the people on the need to preserve the environment and acceptable human conduct with regard to our ecosystem.
Finally, the theme of this year’s celebration *“Air Pollution”* speaks volumes of global concerns on Hydro-carbon emission, clean air and proper waste management. I therefore call on Ndi Imo to preserve what is left of our forests as well as plant trees like I’ve done today. I also call on every Imo resident to plant a tree today. For every Imo Citizen, a tree should be planted annually. This is in consonance with our long standing tradition of planting an economic tree with the umbilical cord of every child.
It has also become timeouts to initiate and intensify the conversation on alternative revenue sources beyond Crude Oil and other Fossil fuel sources. Countries of the World are going green toward cleaner and renewable energy sources.
The time to change our attitudes and become environmentally friendly and responsible is now. I wish you all a happy World Environment Day celebration.
God Bless Imo State
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.