153rd Inaugural Mmom Calls For Environmental Mgt Faculty To Tackle Disasters By Otikor Samuel

As environmental disasters continue to sweep across the globe with devastating impact on humans—especially in the Niger Delta, a Professor of Geography and Environmental Management, Prince Mmom, has called for the establishment of a Faculty of Environmental Sciences to properly harness research outputs in the University to help solve the rising environment-related challenges.

When established, such a faculty would house the Departments of Geography and Environmental Management, Geo-information Science, Disaster Risk Management and Development Studies, Land and Quantity Surveying, Architecture, Building Technology and Transport and Logistics Management.

Professor Mmom, who lectures in the Department of Geography and Environment Management in the Faculty of Social Sciences, made the call while delivering the 153rd Inaugural Lecture entitled, Order in Disorder: Rethinking Inside the Box at the Ebitimi Banigo Auditorium on Thursday, September 27, 2018. He submitted that collaborative research efforts in the proposed faculty would address some of the environmental challenges facing impacted communities in the Niger Delta. He expressed confidence that once the environmental problems were addressed, ordered development would take root in the affected areas.

On whether there was order in disorder in the living space, the 153rd Inaugural Lecturer applied some theories to argue that certain factors were responsible for the uneven development witnessed across communities in the Niger Delta region. He stated that if research was properly harnessed, the problems bedevilling the region would be tackled to bring about accelerated growth.

“The growth pole theory, cumulative causation model, gravity model and intervening opportunity explain the process of uneven development pattern in a region. Their applications give explanations for the unbalanced growth and development in a region. Thus, you can see why certain urban areas grow faster and larger than the others and have the tendency to grow more at the expense of their hinterlands. Development is not and cannot be evenly spread across a region at the same time; it certainly has to start at some points and spread later to complementary regions,” he averred. The Inaugural Lecturer inferred that such pattern could have been responsible for the slow development of communities outside the University's immediate host location.

“Is there Order in Disorder? The answer is YES. The forgoing discourse on the various theories shows that there is an underlying force behind the structure and pattern of human optimisation of space. The principle of locational rent determines the demand for land in central locations because of high accessibility as such affects land value and land use types around such areas,” the Inaugural Lecturer submitted.

Professor Mmom disclosed that his current research interest had shifted to disaster risk management, stating that “a disaster occurs when a hazard exposes the vulnerability of individuals and a community in such a way that their lives are directly threatened, or sufficient harm has been done to their community's economic and social structure to undermine their ability to survive without seeking external support.”

The Inaugural Lecturer attributed the increasing occurrence of environmental disaster in Nigeria to both natural and man-made factors. He stated that the effects of disaster on physical, economic and social displacement of the populace motivated him to shift his research to building capacity for disaster risk reduction to drive sustainable development.

On his contributions to knowledge, Professor Mmom disclosed that amongst other studies, he applied the Growth Centre and Centre Place theories to identify three rural service centres which could serve as locations for sharing development facilities in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State. He disclosed that his study on the rate of decline of biodiversity in the Niger Delta concluded that the decline in biodiversity was a threat to the survival of people in the area.

In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ndowa Lale, showered praises on Professor Mmom for delivering a lecture that held the audience spell-bound to the end. “I am sure that nobody is disappointed with the content and style in which the lecture was delivered. I want to congratulate Professor Mmom for doing a great job which is a clear indication of his mastery of the subject. The University is proud of him and we wish him more exploits as a Professor of Geography and Environmental Management,” he said.

The Vice-Chancellor announced that Professor Sotonye Fyneface-Ogan of the Department of Anaesthesiology, Faculty of Clinical Sciences in the College of Health Sciences, would deliver the 154th Inaugural Lecture on Thursday, October 25, 2018. The Lecture entitled, Pain of Childbirth: The Curse, the Relief and the Anaesthesiologist, is scheduled for 3:00pm at the Ebitimi    Banigo Auditorium

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