Two non-governmental organisations in the Niger Delta – the Mac-Jim Foundation and the FACE Initiative – are sensitising local government areas in Bayelsa State to the need to set up Environmental Protection Desks at their councils.
The two NGOs on Monday organised an advocacy forum in Yenagoa, the state capital, for the Directors of Administration and General Services of the LGAs as part of efforts to drive home the usefulness of establishing EPDs at the councils.
The Executive Director of Mac-Jim Foundation, Mr. Godson Jim-Dorgu, explained that the advocacy became necessary in order to bridge the gap between vital state government’s Ministries, Department and Agencies and the LGAs on environmental issues.
He said it was observed that there had been a huge disconnect between such MDAs and the LGAs as well as development partners over the years.
Jim-Dorgu said that the environmental desk would serve as the fulcrum for creating the needed awareness on environmental issues and generate and collate data on the local government council for the purpose of development.
In his remarks, the state Deputy President, National Union of Local Government Employees, Mr Gowon Toruyouyei, endorsed the initiative, describing it as a brilliant idea.
He stated that it was very important for councils to establish EPDs due to the dangers of environmental pollution, deforestation and other related activities in and around communities.
Toruyouyei, however, urged the advocacy groups to extend the interactive forum on the initiative to the principal operators of the LGAs, including the Ministry of Local Government Administration and the Local Government Service Commission.
Also speaking, the DAGS of Yenagoa LGA, Mrs Taribiyo Amade, lauded the idea of environmental desk and thanked the Mac-Jim Foundation and FACE Initiative for the advocacy meeting which, she noted, was an eye-opener for her and other participants.
At the event, three presentations were made on the ‘Imperatives of Establishing Environmental Desk at Local Government Councils’; ‘Alternative Revenue Generation: Community and Social Development Agency Practical Experience’ and ‘Steps in Funding Opportunities for LGAs on Governance Issues”.