Delta State Governor, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa, has inaugurated the River Ethiope Basin Institute (REBI), Abraka, with a pledge to continue to offer necessary support to achieve the objectives for which it was set up.
Senator Okowa made the pledge at the Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, during a programme arranged to mark the 2021 World Rivers Day Celebration in Nigeria.
The Governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chief Patrick Ukah, identified with the objectives of the World Rivers Day and noted that it had drew attention of the need to protect rivers from all forms of abuses.
He said the state government had, through the Ministries of Water Resources, Environment and other relevant agencies, continued to develop and implement people oriented programmes including fishing, portable water provision, job creation, environmental monitoring and tourism.
The Governor commended the Vice Chancellor of DELSU, Prof Andy Egwuyenga, and his team for the initiative to setup the River Ethiope Basin Institute which, he said, will provide research on how to address pollution, declining fish production and other challenges affecting rivers.
The Chairman of the occasion and retired Head of Service of the federation, Professor Oladapo Afolabi, in his opening remarks, stressed the importance of the institute and urged the state government to support the programme by creating special budget to fund the activities of the institute.
Earlier in an address, the President and the founder of the River Ethiope Trust Foundation, Prince Irikefe Dafe, said the Institute was inaugurated to consider the concepts of life in harmony with nature and respect for nature’s rights and adopt a resolution embracing those concepts.
In a lecture delivered by Professor Robert Ikomi with the topic “water ways in our communities and rights of rivers”, he stated that the celebration of rivers in the world had highlighted the values of rivers, increased public awareness and encourage the improvement of all rivers around the world adding that only recorded service of them and active involvement would ensure their sustainability.
Others who spoke in their goodwill messages commended the River Ethiope Foundation and the Delta State University for setting up the institute and stressed the need to protect rivers from pollution and other abuses.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of awards to various recipients who contributed to the preservation of the ecosystem and also the commissioning of the River Ethiope Basin Institute Office by the representative of the Governor, Chief Ukah.