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New NPPA Chair vows to tackle challenges

May 10, 2017 By Jariatu S. Bangura

The newly approved chairperson of the National Protected Area Authority (NPAA), Dr. Nana Claris Efua Pratt, has vowed to members of the Appointment and public service committee that together with her board members, they would sustainably tackle the challenges faced by the sector across the country.

Responding to questions on her readiness for the daunting challenges of seaside wetlands which were illegally being cleared for the construction of houses, Dr. Pratt assured the committee that she was quite prepared.

“I believe that with the cooperation of the other board members, we will sustainably tackle the challenges together. I am prepared to provide the leadership,” she said.

She said on the issue of massive encroachment on the mangrove swamps for human settlement, some strategies were already in place and that they would wait to get there.

 “To see what the strategies are, what the gaps are, what more is needed to be done is to ensure enforcement and compliance with the law. There are many laws and bye-laws on how people should interact with the environment in a sustainable manner. If there are people who do not want to do the right thing, I think we will have a way to get them to do so. It is for all of us, including the various institutions to collectively enforce it,” she said.

Dr. Pratt maintained that people needed to be conscientized on the importance of sustainable use of the environment and that the NPAA was established for conserving forested areas and protecting the wildlife within those areas.

On his part, Brig. Gen. Osman Turay, board member of National Mineral Agency, said the board was established to advise the Ministry of Mines on the licensing and sale of the minerals to potential investors.

He said he did not see his appointment to the Mineral Advisory Board as a diversion from his military duties; rather, he viewed it as a fulfilment of the oath he had sworn to faithfully serve his country in whatever capacity.

On the issue of some mining companies using hazardous materials-mercury in the mining process, he said, “We will do our best because coming from a science background; I know mercury to be very dangerous. It kills. If we find any company using such hazardous materials, we will warn them against the use of such materials and if they persist, the necessary recommendations for punitive action will be made,” he said.

In her contribution, Hon. Gladys Gbappy-Brima said  failure should not be an excuse for the nominees as their appointments was not a payback job but a national and developmental call.

“There are many environmental issues that are affecting people, therefore use your strength to change those dynamics,” she said.

She said there are lots of challenges facing the NMA, but do hope that as board member, who is grounded in analysing conflicts and taking actions in solving the problem and presenting them to the board to address them.

 “If you go to the mining communities, the issues of teenage pregnancy, child abuse and violence against women are encountered every now and then,” he said.

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