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.