• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Delta partners UK to restore mangrove, lands degraded by crude oil extraction

Oborevwori inaugurates Signature Bank in Asaba

The Delta State Government on Wednesday sealed a deal with a United Kingdom firm and other partners on the restoration of mangrove forest, seagrass protection and preservation of the ecosystem for conservation and environmental sustainability.

The Serendib Capital of UK, Eight Versa, and Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) are collaborating with the Delta State Government on the wide-scale mangrove restoration and conservation project said to be the second-largest mangrove restoration project in the World.

At a brief event presided over by Governor Sheriff Oborevwori at the Executive Chamber of the Government House, Asaba, the parties signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the project.

Rafat Rizvi, the Chief Executive Officer of the UK firm, said that the project would cover a very large land mass of about 250,000 hectares of land.

He said, “We are looking at a very involvement of the local population”, he said, just as he added that the project would restore the ecosystem previously damaged by crude oil degredation.

“What this means for Delta State is a long term solution of 30 to 40 years solution to a sustainable environment. One in which there will be a significant amount of job creation, education with emphasis on youth development.

“First and foremost, its benefit will be on the environment but most importantly, education, jobs and prosperity for the longer term, particularly for the younger people.

“Its not just the function of oil production. As far as the Niger Delta is concerned, our intention is to help stop further degradation and see if we can actually push back and have much more further replanting of sustainable plants.

“None of this can happen without the buying in of the local communities. We are very conscious that this will have to take place with their support. The reversal of some of the significant degradation that has taken place is what we are sent here to do.

“From the programmes we will put in place, there will be significant amount of credits and money will drop back in very significant amount to the local area and that means that in carrying out those programmes, day to day jobs will be created.

“It is important that people in the area see and understand this thing so that we are not seen as another bunch of foreigners coming in to exploit them and going away.

“We are not here to change the ways the locals have lived for hundreds of years but to help preserve the environment; to work with them as partners so that they will have no reason to leave the environment”, said Rizvid as he disclosed that the project would commence in two weeks time.”

Responding, Governor Oborevwori commended all stakeholders for their visionary approach and unwielding commitment to shaping a more sustainable environment for current and future generations.

“The MoU we just signed is very critical to the restoration and preservation of our mangrove forests and the entire ecosystem.

“Not only does this initiative prioritise environmental sustainability but also ensures local demands for job creation, infrastructural development, education and climate resilience structures.

“By dedicating these critical elements into the conservation effort, we are not only safeguarding our natural heritage, but also fostering social economy and enhancing our communities resilience to cope with changes that comes with climate change and deforestation on sustainable basis.

“This programme sets a remarkable precedent by demonstrating how environmental stewardship can harmoniously coexist with human development aspirations.

“I am deeply committed to environmental conservation and sustainable development and therefore I endorse the ground breaking for mangrove and seagrass conservation project.”