Experts urge stakeholders’ support for sustainable environment
The Centre for Biodiversity Conservation and Ecosystem Management (CEBCEM), University of Lagos has called on the Federal Government and other stakeholders to intervene through policies that could champion the sustainability of the environment in Africa.
It lamented increasing depletion of the continents’ biodiversity and the ecosystem, stressing the need for collaborative research using scientific findings to advance awareness campaigns and inform decision-making.
Leading the call through a keynote address at a three-day international conference, entitled: ‘Environmental sustainability of Africa’s biodiversity’ held at the university, the Vice-Chancellor, Igbinedion University Okada, Prof. Lawrence Ezemonye said: “The threat of biodiversity is very serious, from a global perspective, zeroed down to continental implication and Nigerian concept”.
He stated that Nigeria, Africa and global biodiversity is depleting at a very fast rate, which started since 1900, but observed that the phenomenon has become more alarming recently.
Ezemonye urged authorities to increase awareness on how to mitigate undue depletion and exploitation of the environment. He also harped on the need to implement action plans for environmental sustainability in the continent.
“Before now, we used to talk about endangered and extinct species, but we are now talking about vulnerable, threatened endangered species and others. All these categories of depletion are all serious consequences to the biodiversity”, he said. So sensitisation and public awareness is number one”.
“We also need government intervention and policies to direct the cause of sustainability of our environment. Some of these interventions are not what the individual would do; it is the government policies that would drive the intervention. We also need private sector investment and engagement for the protection of the environment. The sustainability of Nigerian environment is a mandatory requirement of every Nigerian to avoid being diminished with our environment” he said.
Ezemonye lauded CEBCEM for organising the conference, which he said, was the first step to resolving the issues of the environment.
Specifically, he warned that oil exploration anywhere in the world is dangerous to the environment if it’s not done the right way.
“In the case of Niger Delta, it would appear that the principles of oil and gas exploration in terms of litigation and protection of the environment are not fully complied with. So the consequences are very grave, gas flaring is a problem, oil spill is a problem, and depletion of the forest for the pipeline is also a problem. There must be a balance between development and environmental protection. This is why we must go back to the principles of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” he stated.
In their presentation, Bridget Bobadoye of the international centre of insect and ecology, Ayodotun Bobadoye of the federal college of forestry and Adekola Popoola of the forestry research institute of Nigeria, observed that disturbance of natural habitats affects the diversity of both vertebrates and invertebrates by altering both feeding and nesting sites for which organisms are known to depend for survival.
Speaking at the occasion, the Director, CEBCEM, Prof. Bola Oboh disclosed that research is evolving in the institution to respond to changing needs of the society. She added that CEBCEM came into being as one of the new six established centres with a founding director like prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe who is also the vice-chancellor to promote policy support research experience of the university and advance the environment and biodiversity.