It’ll take a decade to reverse damage in Niger Delta, says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari (centre) flanked by the President of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Alhaji Razak Jaiyeola (right beside the president) with Buhari’s cabinet members and members of the institute on a visit to the State House, Abuja …yesterday

President Muhammadu yesterday stated that it would take a decade of government attention to reverse the damage to environments in parts of the Niger Delta region.

Receiving members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) at the presidential villa, Abuja, President Buhari noted that although the Federal Government has taken steps to clean degraded areas in the region, the means of livelihood of farmers and fishermen in the Niger Delta has since been destroyed.

Its President, Razak Jayeola led the ICAN delegation to the villa, after the recently concluded 48th Annual Accountants’ Conference.

According to the President, a full assessment of the environmental issues in the region has since been carried out.

“In the Niger-Delta region, man-made environmental problems have adversely impacted the livelihoods of the inhabitants. Farmers and fishermen in particular have seen their means of livelihood destroyed.

“Our assessments have shown it will take decades to reverse this damage. But we have made a start. With or without international cooperation, we are starting to clean up the degraded areas, beginning with Ogoni,” Buhari said.

Further, the President said, “It is very clear to all of us that climate change and environmental challenges are major threat to the peace and prosperity of our nation and its citizens.”

President Buhari who recalled the recent clashes between farmers and herders in the North Central region, said the country was experiencing significant increase in farmer/herdsmen clashes, as a result of the environmental crises.

“This trend, which is recurring in many West and Central African nations is as a result of desertification.

“We are also seeing unpredictable rain patterns resulting in significant floods across our riverine communities. These floods have destroyed hundreds of homes and farmlands.

“In the past three years, this administration has worked hard to enhance the transparency and efficiency of public sector financing through the Treasury Single Account.

“We have also introduced policies that are improving the business environment. We have implemented projects that enable young entrepreneurs. We will also continue to review obsolete laws that are hindering growth in many sectors,” he noted.

President Buhari therefore challenged ICAN members to take it as a responsibility to ensure that their clients, in both the public and private sector, prioritize environmental sustainability in their operations.

In a related development, President Buhari yesterday said his administration would work harder to improve on the gains recorded in securing the country from the onslaughts of terrorists and criminals, and ensuring that Nigerians enjoy a better livelihood by stabilizing the economy.

Hosting Tijjaniyya Shura Council, the President assured that government would continue to review its interventions and projections on security and the economy, with the hope of bringing peace and improved economy to all.

President Buhari commended religious bodies and Nigerians for the encouragement shown to the administration through prayers, pointing out that a peaceful and prosperous country is realisable with collective vision and shared effort.

“I am grateful for the prayers and words of encouragement,’’ he said, “Nigeria’s unity is strong and must be sustained. It is instructive to note that Nigeria preceded all of us in age, and we must do our best to keep the country together.’’

In his remarks, leader of the Tijjaniyya, Sheikh Ibrahim Maihula, said, “our desire is to live in a country that is peaceful and economically vibrant, and we will keep praying for you and members of your administration.’’

Shiekh Maihula said peace and economic prosperity were not negotiable for the unity of the country, urging the president to remain focused and steadfast in pursuing the policies he had outlined.

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