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World Environment Day: Govt, experts seek sustainable development

By Happiness Otokhine and Alero Binitie
13 June 2016   |   3:52 am
Environment watchers and civil society groups have decried the deteriorating state of the earth’s environment and the lack of adequate awareness of the true and horrifying ...
The annual rate of deforestation in Nigeria is approximately 3.5 per cent, which is between 350,000 and 400,000 hectares per year.

The annual rate of deforestation in Nigeria is approximately 3.5 per cent, which is between 350,000 and 400,000 hectares per year.

The Minister asserted that the attainment of global sustainable development is critically dependent on a number of issues among which include environmental rule of law, the illegal trade in wildlife, the protection of ecosystems, and the management of natural capital

Environment watchers and civil society groups have decried the deteriorating state of the earth’s environment and the lack of adequate awareness of the true and horrifying realities of an unhealthy planet to the average man on the streets of Nigeria.

This they identified as the real reason behind the menace of the still thriving illegal trade in wildlife despite efforts both internationally and locally to curb the trend.

They gathered under the aegis of the Federal Ministry of Environment, Lagos Zonal office, to commemorate this year’s World Environment Day (WED), the participants who included a impressive turnout of pupils and students from various schools across the state, as well as NGOs and ministry officials and its related agencies, deep concerns concerning the increasing number of endangered wildlife species all over the world came to the fore.

Speaking through the Federal Controller of Environment, Lagos, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Agbenla, the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, said person of illegal wildlife trade poses grave dangers to the world’s survival as it has the potential of affecting other higher species down the line in the ecosystem including humans, in the long run.

She explained that illegal trade in wildlife is the sale of undomesticated animals and plants from their natural habitat against established rules and regulations. This, she said, has led to wildlife crimes covering different kinds of criminal activities such as poaching, capture / collection of fauna and flora from the wild, smuggling, possession and illegal import or export of endangered species of wild fauna and flora.

The chairman of the event, Alhaji Lateef Olofinjana Suberu, noted that the WED 2016 is being celebrated to create the necessary awareness of the pertinent issues of endangered wildlife through trafficking to the world.

Another event was held at the Kanu Ndubusi Park, Alausa, Ikeja, rganized by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos in collaboration with Nigerian Environmental Society and Lagos State Parks and Gardens (LASPARK).

A member of the Nigerian Environmental Society (NES), Mrs. Oduneye urged the general public to shun the use of animal skin for fashion. She revealed how a monitor lizard was rescued in Lagos and later found in India.

The NES Vice-Chairman Dr. Eugene Itua, emphasized his concern over animal poaching and deforestation. He said: ‘’if the last tree dies, the last human dies. Wildlife is not only about animals but also about plants; in terms of economy and global trade after human and drug trafficking the next is wild life poaching. That is why today we joining the rest of the world to help fight against poaching of our wildlife and deforestation.’’

The Director, Environment Services, Lagos State Ministry of Environment, Dr. Iyabo Philips, who represented the Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment, said the theme encourages the public to protect the animals, insects and plants.

In Abuja, the Federal Ministry of Environment also marked the day in partnership with Etisalat Nigeria, geared at creating awareness for a culture of improving the environment.

Speaking at the event, the Minister of Environment reckoned that the 2016 World Environment Day awareness activities was an apt step towards the attainment of the recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

While calling for an “inclusive green economy”, the minister called for collaboration among all stakeholders whom she enjoined to continue to put sustainability and equity at the heart of any economic decision-making, noting that most countries are beginning to reframe their economic policies and practices around sustainability and creation of an enabling macroeconomic environment among other positive measures.

Also speaking at the event, Head, Government and Community Relations, Etisalat Nigeria, Mohammed Suleh-Yusuf, said that the telecoms company is championing the cause for a sustainable environment with ongoing awareness campaigns in its adopted schools.