Federal government, Lagos seek conservation of wetlands
The Federal Government has called for collaboration among relevant stakeholders to eliminate increasing wetlands degradation in the country.
The Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar made the call at a virtual meeting organised by the ministry in collaboration with Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) to mark the 2021 World Wetlands Day.
He assured government’s commitment to fulfill various multilateral environmental conventions, agreements and protocols toward the attainment of national and global targets.
The World Wetlands Day is celebrated every February to create awareness on the importance of wetlands for environmental sustainability.
The theme of this year’s theme is: “Wetland and Water – Inseparable and Vital for Life”,According to the minister, wetlands contribute immensely to tackling climate change challenges by enhancing the adaptation and resilience capacity of the ecosystems.
He stressed that Nigeria wetlands endowment stood out in Africa, being one of the internationally recognised ones in the world.
He said: “Majority of these wetlands are found in Niger Delta, Benue and Chad Basin and along the entire coast of Nigeria including freshwater/mangrove ecosystems. While 11 of them have been designated as Ramsar sites.
“We will also not relent in our commitments to the fulfillment of various multilateral environmental conventions, agreements and protocols toward the attainment of national and global targets.”
Speaking on the importance of wetlands, The Director General, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF, Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, stressed that they sustain life by keeping the people healthy, supply food and support food production, provide jobs, and protect the environment from natural disaster.
Similarly, the Lagos State Government has restated its commitment to environmental conservation through continuous awareness on the importance of wetlands.
Speaking at an event organised by the State Government to mark the 2021 World Wetland Day at Alausa, Ikeja, the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, called for the adoption of best practices to protect the ecosystem across the State.
The commissioner, who described wetlands as a good source of freshwater, stated that action must be put in place to restore them as well as stop their depreciation and loss.
He said the theme of the year is very apt as it aims to highlight the importance of freshwater to human existence, adding that the shortage of housing is not as dire as the shortage of freshwater.
Bello said the state would continue to address wetland quality decline through wetland restoration plans, continuous cleaning up of wetlands as well as ensure the integration of wetlands into development plans and resource management.
According to him, the government has at different times designated certain wetlands as protected areas to maintain their pristine nature and also recently installed signposts in all the wetlands in the state to further protect them from encroachment as well as preserve their natural functions, one of which is water purification.
Wetlands are ecosystem flooded by water either permanently or seasonally, where oxygen-free processes prevailed, and rich in biodiversity and provide ecosystem services worth about $47 trillion per year.
They also act as cradles of biological diversity, which provide water, ensure human sustenance and survival of countless species of plants and animals.
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