University Prof. Wants FG To Shift Focus From Ogoniland Cleanup

An environmentalist, Prof. Yinusa Asiwaju-Bello, has faulted the Federal Government approach to revamp the ecological disasters facing the Niger Delta region due to oil pollution, insisting that ground water contamination prevention should be given priority over clean up after pollution and contamination.

According to him, in spite of the ongoing attempt to clean-up Ogoniland by the Federal Government, the devastation to the quality of the environment and groundwater will take two generations to be overturned.

Asiwaju-Bello, who lectures at the Department of Applied Geology, Federal University of Technology, Akure, (FUTA), spoke at the institution’s 79th inaugural lecture titled: “Water-Rock Association: A bond of mutual Wholesomeness under Stress by Man.”

He said: “It is not just enough to attempt to clean-up groundwater when it is already polluted, rather man should work hard to ensure prevention of contamination of this vulnerable resource.

“No matter the technology applied, our generation and the one immediately behind us would not see a clean ground water in Ogoniland,” he said.

The university don noted the need to treasure groundwater, as a natural potable fresh water bestowed on man for consumption.

He also stressed that government should closely monitor and control human activities in influencing the environment through mine sites, spillage, septic systems, small disposal pits, storage ponds, underground storage tanks and fertilizers.

This, he said, would go a long way to prevent contamination of groundwater of the type ravaging Ogoniland and to some lesser extent in other parts of the nation.

He also described land application of sludge, waste water, pesticides, herbicides, wells, animal lots, junk yards, solid refuse disposal sites, cemeteries, animal burials and atmospheric pollutants as human activities that put a lot of pressure on groundwater and contaminates it most of the time.

To reduce such environmental hazard, he recommended that all communities should organize water collection with adequately maintained drains on all roads and other household channels for open air evaporation.

“In big coastal cities, management regime should be put in place to regulate the extraction of groundwater from underlying aquifers. Conditions for pumping restrictions may have to be created by law when monitored water quality falls below a threshold level.

“There is need for increased infiltration in coastal areas to maintain high water that would minimise seawater encroachment.

“As such, owners of paved areas in coastline frontiers like Lekki, Victoria Island, Ikoyi and Apapa should be taxed,” he said.

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