Biodiversity is Important for Global Economic Development and Poverty Alleviation - Minister of Environment

Saturday, 13 June 2020 13:47

The Federal Ministry of the Environment in collaboration with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) commemorated the World Environment Day with the theme “Biodiversity” on Friday, 5th June, 2020 through a webinar. 


World Environment Day is a global event used to create awareness for the protection of the environment, as well as call for actions to promote environmental sustainability. 


In her opening remark, Chief (Mrs.) Sharon Ikeazor, Honourable Minister of State for the Environment reminded everyone of Nigeria’s rich biodiversity which include rainforests and mangrove forests on the Atlantic coast in the South; and the Savannah, bordering the Sahara in the North.


She said: “Biodiversity plays vital and diverse roles in our economy, ecology and social lives. It is our source of food, fibre, commercial products, medicine, agriculture and industrial processes.”


She observed that biodiversity in Nigeria is seriously threatened by factors such as land use, agriculture; over-exploitation of natural resources; environmental pollution; climate change and poaching. 


She revealed that these threats have caused biodiversity loss which has led the nation into loss of livelihoods, making poor people become even more impoverished; spread of diseases (zoonosis); reduced food production; migration and human conflict.


“Therefore, immediate attention should be focused on saving what remains of our biodiversity in the country, so as to bring sustained benefits to Nigerians.” She concluded.


Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, Director General of NCF in his presentation titled ‘Biodiversity and Pandemics’ revealed that approximately 60%-76% of all Emerging Infectious Diseases are zoonotic including recent outbreaks and pandemics that threaten global health and economies, such as COVID-19, SARS, MERS, avian influenza, Ebola and HIV.


He advised that people should ensure that the distance between wildlife & biodiversity and man is appropriate because people who carry wildlife bring the exposure that leads to pandemic. He identified pangolin as one of the vectors of pandemic which people illegally trade in Nigeria. He urged conservationists in their campaign to target behavioural change and create public awareness on preference for consumption of wildlife meat which is posing threat of pandemic. He added that fighting corona virus disease is like the first round of the fight and if all concerned don’t tackle conservation challenges, climate change and other issues are waiting for everyone.


He added that government and other stakeholders must tackle deforestation and other land-use changes, illegal and poorly regulated wildlife trade, climate change and so on.


He emphasised the need for reforestation. He said, "The objective of this reforestation is to increase the carbon sink and also respond to the urgent need for reforestation in a country that has lost about 96% of its forest cover."


The keynote speaker, Dr Muhammad Mahmood, the Honourable Minister of the Environment, stated that studies have shown that flora and fauna species are going extinct at an alarming rate which is being compounded by climate change. Speaking further, he said, a considerable number of environmental goods and services that were taken for granted are undergoing serious threats with a significant damaging consequence for ecosystems, economies and livelihoods.


He opined that the conservation of biodiversity and its services is immensely important for human well-being, global economic development and poverty alleviation. To halt biodiversity loss is not only an environmental issue but happens to be a social development, equity and human survival issue. 


“Transformational change is required to achieve the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, including changes in behaviour and decision-making at all levels and in all sectors,” he said.


Chief Ede Dafinone, Chairman, National Executive Council, NCF remarked that NCF believes that systematic and structural changes are necessary for biodiversity conservation. NCF has been in the forefront of biodiversity conservation through advocacy, environmental education and conservation projects such as the Green Recovery Nigeria (GRN) initiative that seeks to restore Nigeria’s lost forest. He added that we all have the responsibility to live by example and clean up the environment.


Some of the participants are Ms. Katherine Kaetzer-Hodson, Environment, Science, Technology and Health Officer, US Embassy in Nigeria, Mr. Adekola Rasaq, Deputy Director, Department of Forestry, Federal Ministry of Environment among others. 


The webinar was moderated by Mr. Demola Ajagbe, Regional Director, BirdLife Africa. 





Experts Appealed to Nigerians for the Restoration of Nature

Wednesday, 10 June 2020 07:45

Mr. Tunji Bello, Honourable Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Lagos State made a clarion call for action to conserve biodiversity towards preserving and protecting the earth, as biodiversity represents a critical part of the natural environment.


He made this appeal at a virtual conference to mark the 2020 World Environment Day with the theme, “Biodiversity: Time for Nature” held on Friday, 5th June 2020.


Mr. Bello said, “The environment must not be destroyed for development and survival, and biodiversity should be preserved because of its wildlife and natural attributes which would attract people to the location.”


Mr. Bello further revealed that the Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources is willing to collaborate with stakeholders in a meaningful engagement that will bring restoration to wetlands, coastal areas and other biodiversity.


Dr. Joseph Onoja, Technical Director, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) in his presentation at the webinar on “Engagement of Citizens, CBOs and Private Sectors in Nature Management and Protection" emphasised that plants and animals are an integral part of the existence of humans. Nature has created a balance for the enjoyment and overall wellbeing of humans. However, human through his activities has interrupted and disrupted that balance. This disruption has come with its attendant negative consequences making life unbearable for humans, such as pandemic.


He revealed that generally, nature provides citizens with the most essentials of life such as shelter, clothing and food. He said further that nature provides protection to communities by preventing flooding, preventing landslides, preventing wind disasters and providing clean water.


He said, “For any meaningful engagement for the protection and proper management of nature to occur, there is need for citizens, Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and private sectors to understand the importance of nature.”


Dr. Onoja added that private sectors and business owners should join in the effort to restore the environment. This becomes necessary because nature is the number one investment capital as it provides raw materials and stability for businesses. 


Prof. Adeola Animashaun, Director, Centre for Environmental Studies and Sustainable Development (CESSED), Lagos State University, added her voice as a guest and said that COVID-19 had impacted negatively on the sustainable development goal. She urged Nigerians to do everything possible to preserve nature and avoid the release of carbon monoxide that has continued to impact climate negatively.






Environmentalists Harp on the Importance of Nature to Humans

Monday, 08 June 2020 07:58

 The Nigerian Environmental Society, Lagos State Chapter joined the rest of the world to commemorate the World Environment Day 2020 by gathering environmentalists, conservationists and other stakeholders in a webinar held on Thursday, 4th June 2020 to discuss nature and people.


In his presentation, Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, Director General, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) who spoke on “We need nature, not the other way round” revealed that nature provides certain crucial services to man. Among them are food, feeding, clothes and shelter, environmental education, culture and identity, soil fertility, climate regulation, pollination, habitats, air quality and energy etc.


He said “Nature provides herbal medicines, which is considered as the best solution to treat diseases. It shows clearly how much of nature we need. This we should focus on and promote as it is easy to access and so affordable”.


He urged the government and other stakeholders to engage in the preservation and restoration of wetlands and floodplains as flood management solution; protection of coastal wetlands/ecosystem is a natural risk management tool against coastal erosion; and reduce the impact of drought.  


He said further that “Ecosystems like forests and wetlands are critical to human wellbeing and provide enormous biodiversity conservation benefits. Degraded forests can be restored by planting efforts.”


While making his speech on “To care for ourselves, we must care for nature”, Mr. Olusola Adekoya, CEO of Shodex Garden stated that nature provides us with services that make our existence on earth possible and enjoyable. These services are called ecosystem services. Our earth is undergoing unprecedented degradation and as a result, Mother Earth is dying so we need to heal her for our common good.


He said “Ecosystem services are our live line on this Earth without which we cannot survive as humans. All human needs and wants are centred around these services and the healthier the natural environment is the better we get these services.”


He is of the opinion that the way we care for ourselves and our families, and the way to sustain these future generations of human beings is to care for life as a whole. He believes that our future depends on ecosystem everywhere.


“Let us explore more, a systematic perspective, holistic thinking and integrative consciousness that acknowledge our participatory intimacy with the universe as fundamentally interconnected and continuously transforming whole manifesting as patterns of every matter and mind, matter and spirit are not separate but intertwined” he added.


Prof. Babajide Alo, former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, who spoke on “Biodiversity degradation: Time to re-build for People and Planet” has called on Lagos State Government, corporate bodies and individuals to embrace greening as a way of improving the health and wellbeing of the citizenry. He also urged the state government to return and improve on the parks and garden beautification era to provide and make the state more natural and green.


The Nigerian Environmental Society (NES) is a professional, non-governmental body which is committed to advocacy and actions towards environmental protection, sustainable environmental development and promotion of environmental professionalism within Nigeria.