The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), in partnership with the Lagos State Government (LASG) through its Ministry of Environment and Water Resources is hosting the 12th edition of the annual “Walk for Nature”, with the theme: ‘Plastic Pollution: The Enemy of Our Development Agenda’. 


This year’s theme has been chosen to create more awareness about the need for Lagosians to collectively tackle the menace of plastic pollution. 


The NCF/LASG Walk for Nature is an initiative aimed at raising awareness on a wide variety of contemporary environmental issues confronting everyday living in Nigeria by demonstrating the importance of nature conservation, sustainable use of natural resources and environmental education. 


This partnership with the Lagos State Government for the Walk is in its 12th year, supported by corporate organisations (Chevron Nigeria Limited, Fidelity Bank Plc, IHS Towers, as well as Fan Milk Nigeria Plc, Mobile Classroom, Nestle Waters among others) that share in the vision of a Nigeria where people prosper while living in harmony with Nature.


The 3km walk takes participants through a designated route of inner and outer Marina, with participants donning branded t-shirts bearing the theme of the event. 


Relevant government agencies will be present to provide support services – these include the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS), and Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC). The Police, supported by the Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps will equally be on ground. 


The Walk for Nature ends with a reception featuring speeches from stakeholders expounding the theme, with keynote addresses from His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Honourable Commissioner of Environment & Water Resources, NCF leadership, sponsors and community members.


Also expected at the rally are Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts & Culture, heads of faith-based organisations, conglomerates, institutions, associations and students among others


Venue: State House, Marina, Lagos State

Date:    Saturday, 19th October, 2019

Time:   7:00am 


In a bid to spread its activities across the entire country for even and maximum impact, the foremost conservation and biodiversity management organization in Nigeria, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has embarked on building partnership with the South East Governments. “We have not made significant inroads into the Southeast geopolitical zone of the country over all these years for factors that cannot easily be adduced” said Dr Muhtari Aminu-Kano, the Director-General of the membership non-governmental organization. “The region is bedeviled as many other parts of the country by environmental challenges especially soil and gully erosion, poor drainages and waste management challenges and NCF is willing to partner with the governments and people of the region including the private sector to begin to turnaround the situation.”


It is against this backdrop that Mr. Paddy Ezeala, NCF’s Communication Advisor, led a team to Awka a few days ago to meet with representatives of the Anambra State Ministry of Environment, Ecology and Beautification Government to discuss common grounds and areas of possible collaboration and partnership.  The Anambra State Government was represented by Dr. Emmanuel Okafor, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Chief Chido Obidiegwu, Managing Director, Clear Drainage & Forest Preservation Agency; and other officials. Mr. Ernest Nwufoh, Programme Director, Biodiversity Preservation Centre; and Mrs. Nkem Agu, Programme Officer, South-Saharan Social Development Organization (SSDO) also joined the meeting. 


The areas are:

1. Forest Conservation – The State Government was advised to work with NCF to embrace massive tree planting in order to fight erosion and reclaim lost forests. This will synchronise with the Federal Government’s plan to plant 25 million trees in the next one year. Anambra State alone can produce 2 million trees because of severity of erosion in the state. 


2. Environmental Education – NCF is willing to partner the State in introducing environmental education into the school curriculum, establishing conservation clubs and setting up relevant schemes in higher institutions. 


3. Waste Management – public sensitisation and education should be carried out in order to help the public understand proper waste management techniques. Recycling of plastic waste would be introduced. Waste Management Advocacy Campaign in Lagos and Ogun States, and South Saharan Social Development Organisation (SSDO) ongoing project were sighted as examples. 


4. Beautification – NCF encourages scientifically designed centres that could be used as ecotourism development projects. 


5. In-situ Conservation – NCF expressed readiness to partner the State Government to establish conservation centres. This will include the protection of the sacred forests. 


6. Partnership with local organizations – Activities of Biodiversity Preservation Centre (BPC) should be given more life to as low hanging fruits. Working on Agulu Lake, Maamu River Forest etc. Agulu Lake is said to have the largest crocodile species in West Africa and should be made a crocodile sanctuary. 


Dr. Okafor capped the meeting by stating that Anambra State should declare a State of Emergency on environment as he identified current major environmental challenges. “Anambra is losing its land to erosion and is consequently more or less becoming the smallest in Nigeria with regard to landmass” he said. “Akpata Forest Reserve has been converted to residential area with a sprawling housing estate springing up. Only five Forest Rangers are available in the entire State and they are now relatively very old people.” 


In the same vein, the NCF team visited Imo State. The team led by the Director of Technical Programmes, Dr. Joseph Onoja, visited Imo State Government to also discuss possible partnership in the area of environmental conservation and sustainable development. 


The meeting took place at the Cabinet Office Annex in Owerri, the state capital on Wednesday, 23rd October with a warm reception by the host, Secretary to the State Government, Honourable Uche Onyeagucha.


The SSG promised to further welcome discussions and deliver NCF’s proposals to the State Governor. He mentioned areas of possible collaboration in conservation such as some abandoned forest reserves and streams that could equally serve as ecotourism destinations. The SSG also drew attention of NCF to some conservation-friendly cultural practices that have saved some species of fauna. “Pythons and some species of monkeys abound in Imo State because some communities don’t eat them” he said. “Conservation projects should be developed and woven around these species.” 


Other officials in the NCF team were Mr. Paddy Ezeala, Communications Advisor; Mr. Oladapo Soneye, Head Communications and Mr. Solomon Adefolu, Climate Change Programme Lead.


The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), in partnership with the Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, re-examined the menace of single-use plastic at the 12th edition of the annual “Walk for Nature”, with the theme: ‘Plastic Pollution: The Enemy of Our Development Agenda’. 


The 3.5km march through Inner and Outer Marina had over 600 participants donning t-shirts bearing the theme of the event. The procession was led by the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Environmental Services, Mrs Belinda Odeneye and the Chairman National Executive Council of NCF Chief Ede Dafinone. 


The Commissioner, in his keynote address revealed that although plastic has many valuable uses, people have become addicted to single-use such as straws, Styrofoam etc. he said “Around the world, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute, while up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year.”


He added: “The mounting pressure on nature’s resources, dwindling wildlife, rising world population, due to pollution, particularly plastic arising from anthropogenic activities, has made a shift in attitude towards the environment a necessity. The rich ecosystem in Lagos State, which is home to a variety of aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals, are under serious threat due to plastic pollution.”


The Commissioner appealed to Lagosians to slow the flow of plastics at its source, improve the way plastic waste is managed and take responsibility for a sustainable environment.


Chief Philip Asiodu, President, Board of Trustees, NCF in his welcome address stated that this year’s theme was selected primarily to create more awareness about the need for Lagosians to collectively tackle the menace of plastic pollution. 


He said: “Most of the plastics are carried through rivers and lagoons and end up in the ocean with over 8 million tons yearly. If we continue at this rate, scientists have predicted that by the year 2050, we could have more plastic in our oceans than fish. Nigeria has been reported as one of the countries that generate high volumes of plastic waste and with the least ability to adequately manage plastic waste. It is currently estimated that Nigeria generates about 2.8 million kg/day of plastic wastes out of which 81% is mismanaged.” 


He added: “It is worthy to note that Nigeria in 2013 subscribed to the international ban on single-use plastics but that has not been enforced in Nigeria. I take this opportunity to call on the government to start the enforcement of the ban nationwide.”


In his speech, the Senior Special Assistant on Drainage and Water Resources, Engr. Joe Igokwe appreciated NCF for the continued partnership on the environment. He revealed that the administration of Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu is set to tackle plastic pollution and other environmental challenges headlong.


Chief Ede Dafinone while giving the vote of thanks, emphasised the need to embrace the identified simple solution to the challenge which is ‘reuse, reduce and recycle.’


He acknowledged the support of corporate organisations such as Chevron Nigeria Limited, Fidelity Bank Plc, IHS Towers, Fan Milk Nigeria Plc, Mobile Classroom, Nestle Waters and others


The event was attended by NCF Council Members, representatives of sponsors, students and the media.


Relevant government agencies were present to provide support services – these include Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS), and Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC). The Police, supported by the Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps were equally on ground. 


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