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NCF, others seek improved protection for natural world

By Victor Gbonegun
08 August 2022   |   2:39 am
The President, Board of Trustees of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Chief Philip Asiodu, has urged stakeholders in the environmental sector to improve efforts at protecting the natural world

Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF)

The President, Board of Trustees of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Chief Philip Asiodu, has urged stakeholders in the environmental sector to improve efforts at protecting the natural world and accelerate action for green recovery of lost forest cover.

He made the call at the 20th edition of Chief Shafi Edu Memorial Lecture in Lagos. Asiodu lamented that the Nigerian environment is greatly challenged in terms of environmental protection, adding that with ‘Only One Earth, there is an absolute necessity for the people to learn how to live in a sustainable manner with the environment to preserve the habitat.

He said the NCF is trying to convince the government and the population about the need to manage the environment, already challenged by increasing population, rising sea level, erosions/floods and poor management of waste. Asiodu advised stakeholders to partner with the foundation for an improved state of the environment.

The Wildlife presenter for BBC, Sir David Attenborough, expressed worries over the high rate of destruction of the natural world caused by human activities, rising sea levels, flooding and coastal erosion happening across the world including Lagos, Nigeria.

He observed that the devastations are alarming, and will not stop except the people take action to halt it.

In defence against environmental devastation, he said it is important to preserve the mangroves, which are vital to curbing flooding in major cities.

“If we don’t understand care for the foundation of the natural world, the ecosystem and how it works, then we will destroy the foundation of the ecosystem. Mangroves are extremely important as a defence against flooding. We should all recognise that we are part of the ecosystem, dependent on the natural world for every breath that we breathe and for food. If we destroy part of the natural world, we risk breaking down that system and damaging ourselves,” he said.

The Director General of the foundation, Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, said the youths have a role to play in preserving the environment, while government, private sector and NGOs must take action to save the environment.

Speaking during a panel discussion, the Chairman, NCF National Executive Council, Mr. Ede Dafinone, said forest cover in Nigeria has declined from about 35 per cent since Independence to about four per cent at the moment.

He said NCF Green Recovery Nigeria project, aimed to take forest cover of Nigeria from the current four per cent to about 25 per cent by the year 2047.

The 25 per cent cover, he noted was the level recommended by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

NCF Council member, Desmond Majekodunmi who moderated the discussion, said now the whole world has realised the need to care for the environment, which is a human life support system, adding that ‘how can we not care for the environment which protects our lives and that of our children?.’

Contributing, representative of the Minister of State for the Environment, Mr. Rasak Adekola, said the government is conscious of the environmental problems and has taken a number of actions. Part of the steps, he explained is the national/regional and inter-regional collaborations.

The NCF, he said is one of the long-standing partners of the ministry, adding that the federal government has ensured that stakeholders play their roles in the ways they should play them.

According to him, the government is also increasing efforts the clean up polluted areas like the Ogoni land and another initiative to improve the state of the environment.

The Deputy British High Commissioner to Nigeria said the first is to acknowledge that the environmental problems are huge, growing and not stopping.

He said: “Every time it rains in Lagos, we hold our breath to see the kind of damage that will occur. The sea level rise has a practical effect. The second step is to provide practical solutions for people living in urban centres low-lying areas. What kinds of infrastructures do they need and can they practically move to different safe places.”

The Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Teshome Nkrumah emphasised the need for clean growth, finance innovation, and application of technology and putting a price on carbon to create economic incentives for people to behave differently. He said this would make companies and organisations start behaving differently.

Nkrumah further said the Canadian government has set aside $5.3 billion for climate financing in developing countries.