The Nigerian Conservation Foundation reviewed its activities and Audited Financial Statements for 2018 during her 30th Annual General Meeting of Wednesday, 18th September 2019. The event held at the Foundation’s headquarters, Lekki Conservation Centre, Lagos and was attended by Council members, fellows, representatives of corporate organisations, members of the academia and media.

 

The President BoT, Chief Philip Asiodu in his address, stated: “Our advocacy programmes remain a vital tool to call the attention of government, organisations and people to actions on climate change, plastic pollution, mangrove restoration, desertification and restoring Nigeria’s forest to at least 20% by 2050”

 

The Chairman of National Executive Council of the Foundation, Chief Ede Dafinone in his statement said: “We initiated a campaign on Lagos coastal erosion with a lecture. The call became crucial seeing how communities along the beaches, including our pride, Lekki Conservation Centre, are being submerged.” 

 

On his part, the Director-General of NCF in his report said: “In our collaboration effort, we held programmes and events with International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Lagos State Ministry of the Environment (MOE), Lagos Urban Forest and Animal Sanctuary Initiative (LUFASI), Mangrove Expo and others. The synergy has continued to deliver great results”

 

The Director-General stated further that awareness must be raised among residents of some communities in Ogun, Kebbi and Bauchi States on how to live in peace with elephants as the animals are roaming surrounding communities to their forest habitats and if care is not taken, lives may be lost.

 

Mr. Chigozie Okoro, Partner, Deloitte and Touche, who delivered the Audited Report disclosed that the Nigerian Conservation Foundation has kept proper books of account as it appears in the examination and the Foundation’s financial position, statement of profit or loss and other comprehensive income are in agreement with the books of account and returns.

 

Earlier in the day, the “Orchids Garden” in memory of the former Executive Director of NCF, late Prof. Emmanuel Obot was relaunched. The garden feature species such as Angraecum pyriforme, Bulbophyllum filiforme, Bulbophyllum nigericum, Bulbophyllum porphyrostachys, Habenaria nigrescens, Liparis goodyeroides and Polystachya cooperi. The garden serves as a collection centre, environmental education, nature conservation and eco-tourism. 

 

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has called on traditional leaders to use their revered institutions in charting a path for the protection and restoration of the nation’s environment.  NCF made this call at the 18th Chief S.L. Edu Memorial Lecture with the theme “The role of Traditional Leaders in Protecting and Restoring the Nigerian Environment” which took place on Thursday, 16th January 2020 at Bankers House, Victoria Island, Lagos. The Lecture was in collaboration with the family of Chief S.L. Edu and supported by Chevron Nigeria Limited. 

 

The Guest Lecturer, His Eminence, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto said that the human society should take care of the environment with every sense of responsibility as a caregiver because the environment has left its pristine state. He said “Desert encroachment is occurring at 600 meters per annum and the figures are rising daily. This has resulted in land losses and dwindling food production [at a time] when the population is growing” 

The Sultan of Sokoto declared that leaders of traditional societies are the major stakeholders in environmental preservation and their leadership is considered critical and indispensable to the whole system. He reiterated that the failure to manage the environment has led us into the present environmental disaster.

 

The Chairman of the occasion and the President, Board of Trustees, NCF, Izoma Philip Asiodu, in his opening remark, reminded that “At independence, Nigeria had 35% forest cover. Today, we have 4%. 

 

The Special Guest of Honour, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Governor of Lagos State who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat stressed the need to have a paradigm shift in our approach to treating the environment. He said “We must decide, as a people, how we want to live our lives. But, it is the intention of this government to lead the conversation. We must decide to leave a society better than we met it for the good of our children. If not, we have done a total disservice to them.” 

 

The Chief Host, Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, the Director General of NCF, in his welcome address explained that NCF sets the tone for the year by organizing the lecture that explores issues of urgent importance and new area that should get attention on conservation in Nigeria.

 

Mr. Esimaje Brikinn, General Manager, Public Government and Policy Affairs, Chevron Nigeria Limited in his speech said the topic for this year’s lecture - was apt as it speaks to traditional leaders as active agents of behavioural change/ sustainable development and advocates of multi-stakeholder partnerships in support of the environment. “This is particularly critical and coming at a time when climate change has become of great concern to our environment and our existence. Chevron Nigeria Limited is glad to be associated with NCF’s enduring vision on nature and environmental protection”, he added, while noting Chevron’s 20-year partnership with NCF which has produced commendable projects geared towards conserving the environment and building Nigeria’s economy.

 

The event was also used to award research grants to two Ph.D. students who were selected out of 53 applicants. They are Elizabeth Shade Fadipe who is a Conservation Biologist from the University of Jos, and Mustapha Sani Bunza, studying conservation and biodiversity in the University of Ibadan. The award was presented by the Guest Lecturer.

 

In attendance were HRM, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the Ooni of Ife, who was represented by HRH, Oba Olalekan Fasesin, the Aladeokin of Oriade-Ife; HRH, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, the Alake of Egbaland; HRH, Oba Saheed Elegushi, the Elegushi of Ikateland; HRH, Oba Shefiu Olatunji Adewale, the Olu of Epe, Alhaji Ajagbemokeferi, the Chief Imam of Oriwu Central Mosque, Ikorodu and other traditional leaders. 

 

Also in attendance were Alhaji Ahmed Joda, member NCF BoT; Mrs. Yetunde Emanuel, member, NCF BoT; Chief Ede Dafinone, Chairman, National Executive Council, NCF; Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi, Chairman LUFASI Park; HRH, Erelu Abiola Dosunmu, Mrs. Olivette Smith who represented the US Consulate General; Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, Vice-Chancellor of Lagos State University, represented by Mr. Abiodun Denloye; NCF council members; representatives of Access Bank Nigeria Plc; Heritage Bank Ltd; Enville Environmental Consultants Ltd; Ecobank of Nigeria Ltd; Ampak Nigeria Ltd; Xtylenspec Ltd; Krestonouc Ltd; Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources; Lekki Estates Residents and Stakeholders Association (LERSA); Imo State Zoological Garden, Imo State; Women in Nature Conservation Organisation; Vulnerable Women Liberation Empowerment Organisation; lecturers and students of tertiary institutions.