The Akwa Ibom government has advocated the education and enlightenment of the people on the protection, conservation and restoration of Wetlands in the state.
The commissioner for information and strategy, Comrade Ini Ememobong, made the advocacy recently during the 2022 World Wetlands Day which took place at the Multi- purpose Hall of the Main Campus of the University of Uyo(UNIUYO), organized by the Centre for Wetlands and Waste Management Studies of the University.
Ememobong, who was represented by the dean of directors and director of Technical Services, Mrs Blessing Urua, in a goodwill message, said there was need for advocacy, education and enlightenment on the protection, conservation and restoration of our Wetlands.
The commissioner expressed delight on the theme of the event tagged, “Wetlands Action For Man and Nature” and promised that the Ministry of Information and Strategy will publicize the communiqué that would be issued at the end of the event through her various publications and other platforms, including the “Update Akwa Ibom” radio programme.
He thanked the Centre for Wetlands and Waste Management Studies for organizing the event and promised to participate, listen and learn from the presentations by the resource persons and other participants.
Setting the tone for the event, the acting director, Centre for Wetlands and Waste Management Studies, Dr Imaobong Ekpo, said the theme for the 2022 celebration, “Wetlands Action For Man and Nature,” was poised to bring attention to investing, serving, securing and restoring our Wetlands.
Ekpo requested for sponsors from government, groups and individuals for the effective implementation of ideas and projects that will beautify, develop and bring gain from the ecosystem.
In his presentation, the keynote speaker, Professor Trenchard O. Ibia, said Wetlands are transitional lands between terrestrial and aquatic systems, noting that since 1997, the day was set aside to bring awareness of Wetlands for global actions.
He maintained that the theme for year 2022 celebration calledfor action to save Wetlands from disappearing and restore those that are already degraded.
The host of the event and dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Professor Godwin N. Udom, in his goodwill message,appreciated the event and cautioned that the refuse dump siteat Uyo Village Road was contaminating streams that take their root from the area.
Udom spoke on the importance of the FADAMA projects and River Basin of the Federal Government, pointing out that if well harnessed they would boost food security in Akwa Ibomand Nigeria at large.
The special guest of honour and vice chancellor of the University of Uyo, Professor Nyaudo U. Ndaeyo, expressed happiness on the successful hosting of the 2022 World Wetlands Day and commended the organizing committee for a job well done, assuring of the University management’s support in their future outings.
In his goodwill message, the state project coordinator, Nigeria Erosion and Waste Management Project (NEWMAP), Dr Ubong E. Harrison, said by definition, “Wetlands are areas where water covers the soil or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods of time during the year, including the growing season. Examples are mangrove swamps, estuaries, basins, potholes, lakes and ponds.
“To ensure the general wellbeing of man and the society, these wetlands provide wide range of services such as ecological, economic, environmental, religious, recreational, educational services among others,” he added.
A communiqué presented by the deputy coordinator, School of Continuing Education, Dr Ubong Umoh, highlighted that Wetlands are centered on climatic change and mitigation and that Wetlands and their natural products are fast disappearing due to human activities.
Consequently, the communiqué advocated that government should adopt and implement Wetland policies such as National Environmental Natural Plan, deepen the indulgence of Women in Wetlands management and develop programmes covering Wetlands inventory for public awareness, among others.
The event witnessed the presentation of journal of Wetlands and Waste Management to the vice chancellor, Professor Nyaudo U. Ndaeyo and his management team, which included Professor Comfort Etok, who was the chairman on occasion;Professor Trenchard O. Ibia, the keynote speaker; the commissioner for environment and solid minerals, Sir Charles Udo, who was represented, as well as senior lecturers, students and members of the University Community.
Highlight of the event was a special rendition of the song, “Heal the World” by students of Cornelia Connelly College, Afaha Oku and St. Brian’s Model College, Dominic Utuk Avenue, Uyo.