By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The two devastating hurricanes in the United States of American (USA) in the past weeks have made some people around the world see the threat posed by climate change.
In Nigeria, the flooding in Lagos and Benue States this year and also the flood alert this week to states around the River Niger by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has further let Nigerians know that the issue is not for the western world alone.
In view of this, Heritage Bank Plc has aligned forces with Cross River State and Senator Florence Ita Giwa-led Seagull Band to educate the people on Climate Change: A time for Change.
The event, which held in Lagos recently, was put together by Seagull Band, one of the five bands of the Carnival Calabar at a symposium titled ‘An evening of lecture and stage presentation of the Seagull winning theme of the 2016 Carnival Calabar’ edition which dwelt extensively on climate change and the need for an affirmative action to manage the environment on a sustainable basis.
Speaking at the programme, Managing Director/Chief Executive of Heritage Bank, Mr Ifie Sekibo, said the bank collaborated with the state government because it believed so much in making the lives of mankind better by preserving it today so that it could transfer it to future generations.
He also explained that the bank developed interest in the alignment because the cause conforms to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s regulation on Sustainability Banking.
Represented at the occasion by Chioma Obiakor, Head, Sustainability Banking, Mr Sekibo said Heritage Bank always operates in tune with the standard set by the apex bank for operators in the sector.
His words, “We have set up a framework within Heritage Bank which helps us to work with the CBN’s principles for sustainability banking. We are very much interested in collaboration with any corporate organization that shares the vision of safety of environment and its sustainability with us.”
The Chief Executive Officer observed that “if we destroy the environment, we will pay for it,” adding that there is need to prevent what is happening in Benue State where several thousands of people had been displaced by floods.
He said the bank was very happy to collaborate with the Cross River State Government for putting together the platform to discuss and find solutions to the issues of climate change. He noted that people build on waterways without conducting proper environmental scanning, remarking that calamities may not happen today, what about tomorrow!
The deputy governor of Cross River State, Professor Ivara Esu invited all the participants at the symposium to the 2017 edition of Carnival Calabar, adding that the theme of this year’s programme is Migration, which is how people are dying in Sahara Desert trying to seek greener pasture in other countries. He said the state would also unveil a new city to be called Calasvegas in December during the carnival.
In her opening remarks, Senator Florence Ita Giwa, leader of Seagull Band, refused to agree to the public perception that the yearly carnival is Africa’s Biggest Street Party. According to her, the carnival is not a party but a platform for interpretation of crucial issues in our society through various literary techniques.
She said except one understands the basic motive behind the carnival, the person would lose the essence of the various activities organized during the event which has become a means of global tourist attraction for the nation.
According to her, many people who hitherto did not understand what climate change meant before the 2016 carnival were educated by the various activities at the event. She therefore, implored investors, tourists and other willing individuals to ensure participation in this year’s edition as it promises to be electrifying.
In his lecture on effects/impact of climate change, Mr Desmond Majekodunmi gave international and local perspectives of what the negative impacts of mankind was doing to the environment which has resulted in Hurricane Harvey in Houston Texas, which was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States of America since Wilma in 2005, ending a record 12-year drought in which no hurricanes made landfall at such an intensity in that country.
He said in Sierra Leone about 400 died due to over flooding while in Benue State in Nigeria about 110,000 people were displaced by floods, adding that if care is not taken, Lagos and South-South coastal cities might be affected by the rising sea levels from the Atlantic Ocean.
Mr Majekodunmi said global warming caused ice to melt and ocean levels to rise, adding that it also increases the magnitude and incidences of ocean surge due to thermal expansion of water.
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