Eid Mubarak,
Eid Mubarak
2018 World Environment Day Celebration
2018 World Environment Day Celebration
The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) is pleased to invite schools to participate in this year’s globally celebrated World Environment Day (WED).

NCF Commends FG on Great Green Wall, suggests proper implementation

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has commended the Federal Government of Nigeria for releasing N10 Billion for the commencement of the implementation of the Great Green Wall Project.

The Minister of the Environment, Hajiya Hadiza  Mailafia recently at the National Conference on Environment in Makurdi, Benue State, stated that the Federal Government has made a commitment of N10 billion towards the implementation of the United Nations-backed programme.

Great green wall brings together 11 countries to plant trees across Africa to literally hold back the Sahara desert with a swathe of greenery, lessen the effects of desertification and improve the lives and livelihoods of communities.

In Nigeria, the project aims to address desertification, enhance natural resource management and promote ecosystem integrity in the dryland in the Northern parts of the Country. The Nigerian Project stretches from Zamfara and Kebbi States in the North West corner along the northern border of Nigeria to the extreme eastern border in Borno State. Eight States are involved in the Project.

While commending the Government for the great effort made and its commitment towards the initiative, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation calls for the following strategies to be employed before and during the implementation to achieve a maximum result:

  • A National Institutional Framework for Project Implementation should be very definitive and focused. We suggest that the Framework takes into consideration the expected benefits and elements that the Project should capture.
  • This multi-purpose Project needs strategic approach to implementation. NCF demands effective follow up and action based on the principles and actions highlighted in the Strategic Plan.
  • The Project should be seen as an opportunity to boost natural resource productivity and reduce stress and tension in natural resource use among major stakeholders. However, a conflict mitigation and management strategy should be put in place by participating States so as to guide against actions that can punctuate or slow down the process of implementation in the participating States. The Project should be seen as a solution rather than a problem for communities, States and people of the benefiting areas.
  • Science and Adaptive Field Research should be inculcated into the implementation plan of the project. This should be fashioned out in collaboration with key Universities and Research institutions in the project implementation areas.
  • The project demands a multi-faceted approach to capture essential benefits and involve all major and other necessary stakeholders. Community involvement in project planning and participation is crucial. Major Resource User Groups should be seen as actors and not only receivers of process in the project planning and implementation.


The wall, an initiative spearheaded by African heads of State, will stretch about 7,000 from Senegal in the west to Djibouti in the east and will be about 15 Kilometres wide as it traverses the continent, passing through Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The programme aims to support the efforts of local communities in the sustainable management and use of forests – a key theme of the tenth session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF10), currently taking place in Istanbul – as well as other natural resources in dry lands.

Among other things, the planting of trees is expected to provide a barrier against desert winds and will help to hold moisture in the air and soil, allowing agriculture to flourish. It is also expected that the Wall will reduce erosion, enhance biodiversity and improve countries’ resilience to climate change.

NCF, being the foremost and oldest environmental protection NGO in the country has been witness to similar government/donor projects in the past, which unfortunately, through neglect and improper implementation, often excluding community participation/ownership, became dismal failures, allowing the sands of the desert to ravage thousands of square kilometers of former pasture lands, turning them into uninhabitable desert and hundreds of thousands of pastoralists into environmental refugees, thus greatly exacerbating the grave insecurity scenarios in this region that we are faced with today. We would like to believe that such neglect and indolence in implementation would not be allowed to befall this extremely laudable green wall project and that together with our other neighboring states; we would be able to find a permanent solution to the ravaging environmental disaster of desertification.

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The decline of vultures in Nigeria should be everyone’s concern if we understand and appreciate their importance or contributions to human health and the economy. The decline in the number of vultures is due to many factors.

 

 

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) advocacy campaign started during the 2017 Chief S. L. Edu Memorial Lecture with the theme “Decline of Vultures: Consequences to Human Health and the Economy”.

 

 

Attention is being devoted to vultures because of the alarming rate of their decline. Threats to vulture species are from humans. Vultures today are in dire situation especially outside conservation areas. They are in danger of being poisoned, especially through the deliberate poisoning of carnivores; electrocution by powerlines passing through breeding sites, direct persecution and declining food availability. Deliberate poisoning of carnivores is likely the most widespread cause of vulture poisoning. Human persecution of vultures has occurred for centuries and continues unabated. These are all human-induced threats!

 

Vultures play a crucial role to human health and the economy. They keep our environment free of carcasses and waste thereby restricting the spread of diseases such as anthrax and botulism etc. They are of cultural value to the Nigerian communities. They have important eco-tourism (bird watching) value. Vultures are nature's most successful scavengers, and they provide an array of ecological, economic, and cultural services. As the only known obligate scavengers, vultures are uniquely adapted to a scavenging lifestyle. Vultures' unique adaptations include soaring flight, keen eyesight, high sense of smell and an immune system adapted to degrading carcasses with no negative effect.

 

 

Vulture decline would allow other scavengers not properly equipped for scavenging to flourish. Proliferation of such scavengers could bring bacteria and viruses from carcasses into human cities. We need to rise and prevent this from manifesting.

 

Ecological consequences of vulture decline include changes in community composition of scavengers at carcasses and an increased potential for disease transmission between mammalian scavengers at carcasses and human population. There have been cultural and economic costs of vulture decline as well, particularly in Nigeria.

 

 

Vultures in Nigeria are ignorantly considered an omen of evil, therefore, the evil must be stopped. This leads many to kill vultures in the quest for averting supposedly eminent evil. Sad to know this barbaric act still exists.

 

A recent survey conducted recently by NCF at wildlife markets in Ondo, Osun and Ogun States in South West Nigeria revealed that Kano, Ibadan and Ikare are the hubs of vulture sales. Wildlife and herbs sellers visit these trade hubs to get vultures (live or dead) for their customers and users. Vultures, it was gathered, are being used by the belief-based practitioners and other spiritualists for “Awure” – fortune charm. The survey revealed that a vulture head goes for between N12,000 (twelve thousand naira) and N15,000 (fifteen thousand naira) at retail markets, a feather costs N100 (one hundred naira) , while other parts cost between N500 (five hundred naira) and N2,000 (two thousand naira). The findings further show that although a whole vulture could cost as high as N20,000 (twenty thousand naira) to N30,000 ((thirty thousand naira), once the head is off, the rest of the parts may not attract much money.

 

 

Belief-based use is a major driver of vulture decline in Nigeria especially in the South West where they were assessed to be major ingredients in traditional concoction. The local markets for vulture species have soared up in multi-folds as a result of continued demand within the belief-based system. Belief-based professionals who are the users of this economically important species are currently decrying the high price of this commodity as it affects their business. However, there is a need for a change in the traditional belief system that have entrenched the cultural cocoon of the day-to-day existence of people.

 

The economy of a nation or of a people is not built by trading in commodity and other allied items only, but also on a healthy environment. When an environment is made healthy by ensuring that all the components are functioning properly, people are healthy and trade successfully, which has a ripple effect of imparting directly on the nation’s economy. A healthy soul is a wealthy soul and a healthy people is a healthy nation.

 

 

People need to be aware of the good services vultures provide to them and participate in tackling the troubles faced by vultures. Researchers need to establish a simple monitoring network for vultures. Toxic drugs that are harmful to vultures need to be eliminated. Time to save the vultures from vanishing is now! Time to be more aware of the happenings in our environment is now! And time to take bold steps to further save nature is now!