Ughelli – A developmental economist, Prof. Pat Utomi has said that the rate of cancer will increase in the Niger Delta region in the near future, unless the current rate of gas flaring is checked to stop the degradation of the environment.
Prof. Utomi noted that a healthy environment is a heritage from our fathers, but sadly we may not be able to bequeath same to our children because of activities of oil majors and our poor attitude to environmental issues.
Presenting his keynote address at the second mid-year national conference of the Isoko Development Union (IDU) women’s wing weekend, with a theme; “Building Healthy People and Healthy Planet,” he stated that history will not treat us kindly if we fail to show concern about the environment.
While advocating for women empowerment through proper education, he said that this enable them to take actions that will mitigate environmental challenges in future. According to him, women are closer to the environment as caregivers.
He said: “There is no challenge that cannot be overcome by women, because they have milk of human kindness, therefore they are critical to development and if well educated, they can trigger up development when they apply their natural strength.”
Utomi who was given “Isoko Prestigious Award,” also said that there are enough resources in the world, but sadly there are high levels of poverty because of failure of leadership.” He added, “We have leaders who don’t have the political will, ‘the know-how and know why things are not changing.”
He explained that the starting point in escaping from poverty is proper education for our children and women, stressing that women are very important factor in the education of the children, especially in their moral upbringing.
On his youth empowerment programme, he noted that many youths leave school certificated, but lack the skill and workplace attitude.
He explained that the ‘Center for Value in Leadership’ emerged to fill this gap by equipping youths with the needed skills to become wealth creator through self mastering.
Earlier, in her welcome address, the President of IDU, Amb. (Mrs.) Caroline Usikpedo-Omoniye canvassed for social inclusion of women and 50/50 affirmative action on women participation in governance, noting that if implemented, it will boost development and also empower the womenfolk.