By Ndu Samuel
The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Shedrack Agediga Foundation (SAF) Amb. Shedrack Agediga has disclosed that climate change if not properly curtailed will be a threat to peace.
He maintained that there is a nexus between weather condition, resource conflict and threat to peace.
Amb Agediga stated this while giving a key note address at the 2019 World Peace Day lecture organised by Shederack Agediga Foundation (SAF) on Saturday in Obotobo 1 community, Ogulagha kingdom, Burutu Local government area of Delta State.
The International Peace day is commemorated every year on 21st of September through lectures and symposiums as well as charity in war ravaged areas. This year’s World peace day has the theme ” Climate Action for Peace”
Speaking on how climate change can become source of threat to peace, Agedida stated that indiscriminate flaring of gas through illegal local refining of fuel which is a major source of carbon emission that produces green house gas causes weather condition that can lead to dwindling resource, which according to him will in turn lead to climate related conflict than can overtime become threat to peace.
He said ” The indiscriminate burning of fossil fuel through gas flaring and artisanal of crude oil is a major contributor to the overall problem of carbon emission that eventually produces the green house gas. This has led to the rise in sea level and environmental related disaster has become more frequent, forcing more and more people away from their homes.
”This simply point to the irrefutable fact that the continuous severe weather condition will lead to dwindling resources that will lead to climate related resource conflict and this is the ultimate threat to peace.”
He noted that climate change has become a nightmare to rural dwellers, saying that communities in Burutu local government and other communities around Delta has been predicted to be overtaken by flood, and people at this front line will be forced to leave their ancestral homes and means of livelihood for safety.
He therefore appealed to locals to discontinue all activities that contribute to the already tensed climate, including vandalization, noting that development can only come when there is prevailing peace.
In his address, member representing Burutu Federal constituency in the federal house of representatives Hon Julius Pondi urged attendees to halt all actions that affects the environment in a negative way.
The highest political office holder from Burutu local government decried what he called unwarranted oppression of the people of Ogulagha kingdom by military personnel attached to the oil companies in Obotobo, emphasizing that such oppressive tendencies must stop.
On climate change, He noted that the natural habitat has been tempered and depleted by actions of man saying that man added immensely to the natural damage done to the environment as a result of climate change and warned that such self inflicting problems must stop for the people to achieve peace and development.
Guest speaker at the event who is also lecturer at The Niger Delta University (NDU) Dr. Zibima Tubodenyefa took time to explain to participants the concept of climate change and its relationship with Peace.
Tubidenyefa said that one of the most harmful aspect of climate change is global warming which he defined ”as a shift in world weather phenomenon associated with an increase in global average temperature”
The NDU don enumerated risks associated with climate change to include food and water supply disruption, deadly heat, changing infectious disease vectors as well as decreasing economic opportunities.
He said ” Disaster by weather and climate related hazards cost the global economy $320 billion in losses by 2017 alone, imagine what the cost of repeated disaster would be and the impact on business and infrastructure. By 2030′ more than 1 million people will be pushed into poverty by climate change impact primarily in sub Saharan Africa and South Asia ”
He decried that the current extant laws in the country does not cover for losses suffered as a result of the effect of climate change and concluded his lecture by proffering solutions to the menace.
He proposed ”a national level structural support that will ensure that national climate action is evidence driven, a structure where needs of the most vulnerable are identified and met as well as adopting and implement multi stakeholder participatory approach.
Secondly he said, developing a local partnership for climate action will propel a national level structure support that will ensure proper identification and inclusion of all stakeholders, a functional and stable national action plan and most importantly, a political will at the state level to support micro level and rural effort ”
Other dignitiries who spoke at the event include Delta State Commissioner for oil and gas Emman Ambadugba, The Special adviser to Delta State governor on peace building and conflict resolution Mr. Edwin Uzor, Chairman of the event Apst. Dr. Godspower Tomone, Amb. Sixtus Obinna of the Pan African Youth Parliament as well as the Chairman of Burutu Local Government Area, Hon. Godknows Angele who was represented by the Secretary of the council Hon. Perekeme Sunday.
The central message of the various speeches was the need for peace as the only way to encourage and compliment government efforts toward tackling the dangers posed by gas flaring, water pollution and environmental degradation occasioned by oil exploration and other human inflicted hazards.
Highpoint of the event was presentation of awards to the Founder of SAF Amb. Agediga and Hon Pondi by the foundation.
While Agediga received double award, first in recognition of his selfless service to humanity and secondly for inspirational leadership, Pondi got most outstanding political leader award.
Other dignitaries present were, the special adviser to Delta State governor on oil and gas, the leader of Burutu legislative arm Rt. Hon Joseph Alubeze, Youth President general of Ogulagha kingdom, OKYC, Sir. Justice Timi Akuna, women, and youth groups across Niger Delta region and Ogulagha kingdom in particular were heavily present.