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Govt Should Do More To Protect Our Forests From Illegal Hewing Of Trees By Prof Okeke Gerald Ndubuisi



Professor Okeke Gerald Ndubuisi is a Professor of Safety & Environment from TBU Global Extension, New York, USA.

He is equally a Lecturer and a Safety & Environmental Specialist in the oil and gas industry for about three decades and above.

Prof Okeke Gerald Ndubuisi is a sound environmentalist whose research paper on Global climate change & Greenhouse gases won another award during the last African Cleanup Initiatives conference ( ACI) at Transcorp Hilton hotel in Calabar, Cross River State.

In this interview, the Professor of Safety & Environment bares his mind about the continuous depletion of our forests & falling of trees in Nigeria.

Prof Okeke Gerald Ndubuisi

Top Naija: What’s your opinion on Government’s intervention by the regulation to protect trees and plants?

Prof Okeke Gerald Ndubuisi: Government intervention is not felt in this part of our clime with regards to forest preservation and protection.Though Nigeria is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Climate change agreement, but the govt has not been living up to expectations.

We have regulatory agencies or bodies saddled with the responsibilities of protecting the Environment and forests, but you can hardly feel their impact these days.

In the late seventies and eighties, we used to have Forest guards and Environmental Inspectors that used to guide against falling of trees or messing up the Environment.

But they have gone extinct somehow. Those days, if you fall a tree, the forest guards would arrest you and prosecute you.

But these days, wood loggers are on the rampage , falling trees in the forests with reckless abandon.

The regulatory agencies saddled with this responsibility, should up their game. They have offices and go to work just to sign attendance log book and receive salary at the end of the month.

Top Naija: What’s your rating of the enforcement knowing that making laws is one thing, enforcing them is another thing?What’s your idea or solutions towards ensuring enforcement of the laws?

Prof Okeke Gerald Ndubuisi: As a matter of fact, enforcement of the laws are less than adequate. Govt is not really enforcing the laws as it should be.

READ ALSO: The Story Of My Life By Prof Okeke Gerald Ndubuisi 

Govt should do more in this respect so that our forests and bio diversity would not go extinct. We are gradually seeing loss of bio diversity sequel to forest depletion by way of continuous wood logging activities.

In addition, the laws against illegal wood logging are there, but the Wood or Forest Inspectors are not living up to expectations.

How many persons have been prosecuted for illegal wood logging in this country?

But illegal wood logging is an ongoing activity today in this country. We have lost a lot of our rain forests in this nation sequel to activities of illegal wood loggers.

The govt should be up and doing, by prosecuting illegal wood loggers and that would serve as a deterrent to others.

Prof Okeke Gerald Ndubuisi And Wife Dr. Mrs Vera Ngozi Gift Okeke

Top Naija: What’s your suggestions to the government to be up and doing ? Assuming you are in government, how would you push it?

Prof Okeke Gerald Ndubuisi: For it to work, get educated and highly qualified Nigerians to take up leadership positions that would be devoid of sentiments, but strictly on merit. One of the bane of our national development is the appointment of mediocrity against meritocracy ( merit).

Secondly, set tasks and targets for employees of these National agencies, and promote them as at when due, if they actually merit promotion, not because of his catchment area or other reasons.

Thirdly, govt should equally draw up training programs for them, both on the job and off the job training. If there is a training that requires some of the employees to be sent abroad, govt should not hesitate to do it.

In addition, the welfare packages of the workers should be encouraging, especially their families accessing good medical facilities.

We have seen cases of retirees giving up the ghost while waiting for their entitlements or pensions to be paid to them.

Motivation does a lot of magic and I am of the view that workers in these Federal agencies should be properly motivated to enable them rise up to the game.

The policy of hire and fire should be implemented accordingly. There should be no sacred cows or ” this is the Minister’s cousin or brother” , etc.

Top Naija: Prof, I have been hearing about soot. What exactly is soot? And how dangerous is it to the health of citizens?

Prof Okeke Gerald Ndubuisi:  Soot is an unburned hydrocarbons. Soot is pervading the whole atmosphere around the Niger Delta axis, especially, in Portharcourt in Rivers State. Soot are those black substances that you would see on the floor of your house or roof of a building. You can feel their impact when you wash cloths, especially, white cloths inside your compound.

During the evening time, you would see all the black substances hanging loosely on your cloths or even vehicles. It is a very lethal substance that is cancernogenic in nature. That means that it could cause cancer.

You equally see a very dangerous substance in soot called Benzene. Benzene is substance that is usually seen during processing or refining of crude oil. It is measured in parts per million ( PPM).

15 PPM of Benzene is not good, but during the production of soot, you get close to 900 to 1000 PPM of Benzene. This is what some people within those endangered areas breath on daily basis, during the activities of artisanal refinery (kpofire) crude oil thefts around the Niger Delta axis.

I am seriously worried that people living around those soot prone areas could be referred as endangered species. People are likely going to manifest signs and symptoms of cancer, skin dermatitis, difficulty in breathing,etc, years to come if care is not taken.

That’s why I always appreciate Gov Nyesom Wike of River State for the bold steps he took earlier this year to nip the activities of illegal bunkerers in the bud, which has considerably reduced the level of soot production around Portharcourt in particular, and Rivers State in general.

Top Naija: Prof, we would like to know more about your school- TBU Global Extension University? You keep on mentioning TBU Global Extension while answering questions.

Prof Okeke Gerald Ndubuisi: Triune Biblical University Global Extension, New York in USA , is one of the best online Universities in the world.

The school has one of the best curriculum in the world, with close to 2 billion books in the library.

The quality of education from TBU Global Extension is second to none. You can go and verify what I am saying.

We have seasoned Professors and researchers at your beck and call as a student.

The program is designed in a way that you study at your pace and meet up with the required credit points and hours as stipulated by the school authority, starting from HND, Degree, Master’s and Doctorate degree programs.

Many Universities and Polytechnics in Nigeria are affiliated to our school, such as Lagos State University, Taraba State University, University of Medical Sciences, Ijanikin, and a host of other tertiary Institutions in Nigeria in particular, Africa in general. The school has satellite campuses all over the world.

The Chancellor of the University is a Nigerian ( Prof Adeleke Daniel Durojaiye).

Prof Adeleke Daniel Durojaiye, Chancellor of Triune Biblical University, Global Extension, New York, USA

He has made education cheaper and affordable to Nigerians in particular. That is the reason why you would see the tuition fee for Nigeria students is highly subsidized or reduced, compared to other parts of the world.

I am so proud of this school, cause they gave me real baptism of fire in education as a student years back.

I would honestly advise parents and guardians to enroll their wards in our school. In addition to this, students from our school do attend NYSC scheme on completing their first degree program.

We have seasoned and erudite Professors like , Prof Biodun Akinkpelu, Prof Mercy Davies , Prof Dosumu and Professor Valentine, etc.

Prof Biodun Akinpelu, Adjunct VC TBU Global Extension University, Africa

Our school equally offer short term courses for all professionals of various fields.

Top Naija: Prof, what’s your parting shot as we draw this interview to an end?

Prof Okeke Gerald Ndubuisi: My parting shot is that Govt should pick up the concern which I have expressed above and do something humanly possible to protect our forests and discourage deforestation.

Afforestation should be encouraged now that climate change is staring us in the face. We should plant more trees around our Environment to help generate fresh and unpolluted oxygen for our own consumption.

It’s a great pleasure talking to you my erudite Journalist plenipotentiary.

Thanks a lot and remain blessed always.

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