By Dada Jackson
The water sector in Lagos State came into the front burner on Thursday as a Technical Advisory Committee on Green Climate Fund to proffer lasting and sustainable solutions to the challenges facing the sector was inaugurated.
Speaking at the inauguration at Alausa, Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello, said the committee would develop a bid for Green Climate Fund (GCF), adding that the committee was expected to work for six (6) months from the date of inauguration.
According to the commissioner, the fund is dedicated to helping developing countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emission and enhance their ability to respond to climate change.
His words: “In order to chart a way forward for improved service delivery especially as these sectors are inter-related, Lagos State Government Water Aid (UK) and Artic Infrastructure agreed to set up this technical committee on Green Climate Fund bid.
Bello said the GCF was formally established in 2010 within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to offer funding support to developing countries in response to climate change challenges.
He noted that the advisory committee was expected to develop priority projects for investments in water, sanitation, drainage, flood defense and power sectors.
He added that the committee would provide technical details for the development of a bid and Green Climate Fund (GCF) concept note.
Bello further stated that the committee would engage with relevant stakeholders in Lagos State and Federal Government to generate support for a bid always.
He emphasized that the committee would seek early support and partnership from relevant GCF-accredited organizations, such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and African Development Bank when the need arises.
He said at the community level, the initiative is envisaged to increase accessibility to safe water, sustainable sanitation and reduce the incidence of flooding while protecting homes and livelihood.
The Commissioner stressed that the initiative would aim to reduce the climate risk index in the state, reduce airborne and waterborne diseases and reduce the pollution and contamination of water resources with major gains to public health.
He explained that the burden of funding developmental projects were enormous and could not be shouldered by the state government alone, stressing that the proposed initiative would provide a strong opportunity to reduce the infrastructural deficit in the identified sectors.
Earlier, the Special Adviser on Drainage and Water Resources, Engr. Joe Igbokwe, noted that smaller cities across the World have accessed the GCF fund, saying Lagos State with a large population should not be an exception.
He charged the committee to work as a team and identify critical projects stressing that the ministry was set to support the members in order to make the job easier.
In his response, the chairman of the committee and Permanent Secretary, Office of Drainage Services and Water Resources, Engr. Olalekan Shodeinde, said the committee members would hit the ground running immediately and work hard to achieve the desired goals.
He said the government had been on the project for over a year with the purpose of showcasing Lagos State to the world, adding that the committee should ensure they appraise problems and proffer lasting solution.
He said government had issues in funding some projects related to water sanitation, open defecation, hygiene, energy and drainage, adding that the committee would ensure it presented sustainable projects that could be showcased to attract grants/loans from GCF.
Speakers at the inauguration ceremony who spoke virtually and physically included the Technical Lead, WaterAid Nigeria, Mr Adebayo Alao, Project Director, Arctic Infrastructure, Mr Lookman Oshodi and Senior Policy Analyst, Water Aid United Kingdom, Mr John Garrett.
NiMet predicts cloudiness, thunderstorm across Nigeria
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted cloudiness and thunderstorm from Sunday to Tuesday across the country.
NiMet`s weather outlook released on Saturday in Abuja predicted sunny skies with patches of clouds over the northern region with few thunderstorms over Taraba in the morning hours.
According to it, there are prospects of isolated thunderstorms over parts of Taraba, Adamawa and Kaduna later in the day.
“Partly cloudy skies are anticipated over the North central region with prospects of thunderstorms over part of Benue during the morning hours.
“There are chances of thunderstorms over parts of Kwara, Kogi, Plateau and the Federal Capital Territory in the afternoon to evening period.
“Isolated thunderstorms are expected over some southern states like Ondo, Edo, Imo, Enugu, Ogun, Osun, Delta, Cross River, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Lagos in the morning hours,“ it said.
The agency forecast thunderstorms over parts of Imo, Ondo, Osun and the coastal belt of the country later in the day.
NiMet envisages partly cloudy to sunny skies on Monday over the Northern region throughout the day with prospects of a few thunderstorms over parts of Taraba and Adamawa states in the afternoon and evening hours.
It anticipates cloudy skies with intervals of sunshine over the North central region in the morning hours.
“Further into the day, thunderstorms are anticipated over parts of Niger, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kwara, Benue and the Federal Capital Territory.
“The inland and the coastal cities of the South should be cloudy with prospects of thunderstorms over Bayelsa, Cross River, Rivers and Akwa Ibom states in the morning hours.
“Later in the day, there are prospects of isolated thunderstorms over parts of Ondo, Edo, Enugu, Ogun and the coastal belt of the country,“ it said.
NiMet predicts partly cloudy to sunny skies over the Northern region throughout the forecast period on Tuesday.
It further predicted partly cloudy skies over the North central region in the morning hours with isolated thunderstorms over parts of Benue, Kogi and Kwara states in the afternoon and evening hours.
“The inland and the coastal cities of the South should be predominantly cloudy during the morning hours.
“Later in the day, there are chances of thunderstorms over parts of Ondo, Imo, Edo and the coastal cities,“ it said.
WHO reports global shortfall in mental health investment
The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) new Mental Health Atlas paints a disappointing picture of a worldwide failure to provide people with the mental health services they need.
In a statement made available on Saturday, it said it happened at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic was highlighting a growing need for mental health support.
“World misses most 2020 mental health targets; extension of WHO Mental Health Action Plan to 2030 provides new opportunity for progress reading time, four minutes (1003 words).
“The latest edition of the atlas, which includes data from 171 countries, provides a clear indication that the increased attention given to mental health in recent years has yet to result in a scale-up of quality mental services that is aligned with needs,” the global health agency said.
According to WHO, the Atlas is a compilation of data provided by countries around the world on mental health policies, issued every three years.
Others are legislation, financing, human resources, availability and utilisation of services and data collection systems.
According to the global health body, it is also the mechanism for monitoring progress towards meeting the targets in WHO’s Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan.
“It is extremely concerning that, despite the evident and increasing need for mental health services, which has become even more acute during the COVID-19 pandemic, good intentions are not being met with investment.
“We must heed and act on this wake-up call and dramatically accelerate the scale-up of investment in mental health, because there is no health without mental health,” it quoted Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO, as saying.
The statement said that none of the targets for effective leadership and governance for mental health, provision of mental health services in community-based settings, mental health promotion and prevention, and strengthening of information systems, were close to being achieved.
It said that in 2020, just 51 per cent of WHO’s 194 member states reported that their mental health policy or plan was in line with international and regional human rights instruments, way short of the 80 per cent target.
It said that only 52 per cent of countries met the target relating to mental health promotion and prevention programmes, also well below the 80 per cent target.
WHO noted that the only 2020 target met was a reduction in the rate of suicide by 10 per cent, but even then, only 35 countries said they had a stand-alone prevention strategy, policy or plan.
It said that steady progress was evident, however, in the adoption of mental health policies, plans and laws, as well as in improvements in capacity to report on a set of core mental health indicators.
It said that, however, the percentage of government health budgets spent on mental health has scarcely changed during the last years, still hovering around two per cent.
Vigilante Group Kills Imam, 10 Others In Sokoto
Gunmen suspected to be members of the outlawed Yan Sakai, a vigilance group in Sokoto State, have killed 11 persons, including an Imam, at Mamande village in Gwadabawa local government of Sokoto State.
Our reporter gathered that the victims died on the spot while four persons who sustained gunshot injuries were taken to a hospital by the local government council for treatment.
The Imam who was identified as Malam Aliyu was said to be leading prayers in one of the daily prayer Mosques in Salame.
The incident happened at about 3:30pm on Thursday.
The victims were said to have come from different Fulani settlements around the area to purchase food and other items at the weekly Mamande market.
The Yan Sakai were said to have stormed the market from Goronyo Local Government Area, attacking the victims whom they accused of aiding banditry.
A relative of the Imam, Abdullahi Riskuwa, said his brother was killed unjustifiably because he never had any criminal record.
“He is sound in religion knowledge and had been leading prayers in one of our mosques in Salame town.”
“His only sin was that he belonged to the Fulani tribe.”
According to Riskuwa, Imam Aliyu only went to the market to buy goods when he was killed.
Among those killed at the market, he said, were children and the Yan Sakai went away with their animals.
He called on the government to investigate the matter with a view to bringing the perpetrators to book.
The state chairman of Miyeti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, could not be reached for comment as his telephone line was not reachable when our correspondent attempted to speak with him.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Gwadabawa local government, Aminu Aya, confirmed the attack, saying the Yan Sakai were not from Gwadabawa.
According to him, the deceased were deposited at the Morgue of Specialist Hospital, Sokoto, and some of their relatives went there to recover their corpses.
He however, said that, normalcy was restored in the area.
When contacted, the Public Relation Officer of Sokoto Police Command, ASP Sanusi Abubakar, said he had not briefed about the development but promised to get the details and call back.
However, he had not done so as at the time of filling this report.
Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal had prohibited the activities of Yan Sakai in the state.
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