Lagos – Human activities in Nigeria have put the forest resources under pressure, which has left the environment in big trouble.
Muhtari Aminu-Kano, the new Director-General (DG) of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), disclosed this at the Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC) in his maiden chat with select journalists from both the print and electronic media.
Aminu-Kano, an experienced natural resources management expert with more than 30 years experience, resumed office on April 4, 2018 to replace Adeniyi Karunwi as NCF DG.
According to him, deep wounds had been being inflicted on the Nigerian environment, and nothing much was being done to help the ecosystem heal itself.
“This, I think, is sad because the environment is our habitat, and unless you take care of where you live, then you are threatening your existence, your life and livelihood.
“We are doing a lot of damage through deforestation, habitat destruction, draining wetlands and oil pollution,” he added.w
There had been inadequate action to redeem the situation due to the lack of political will and poor information dissemination.
His words: “The environment in Nigeria is really in big trouble; it’s under pressure from every corner. There are lots of problems in the environment. And not enough action is taking place. Part of it is lack of awareness and another is lack of political will from the authorities to do what is right.
“If you notice, most of the environment organisations in any structure are usually the weakest part of that structure. If you look at the Federal Government, the Ministry of Environment is not well-endowed like some other ministries. There is the same situation in the states.”
But with Green Recovery Nigeria Initiative (GRNI), its new flagship, the foundation plans to bring all stakeholders together to increase the forest area from its present five percent to over 20 percent in the next 40 years.
To stem deforestation, the soft-spoken DG disclosed that he would encourage massive tree planting through agro-forestry (planting trees within farms).
He noted that trees were important in the fight against climate change, as they inhale carbon dioxide, which is harmful to the environment, and exhale oxygen, which is useful to animals.
“We really want to see people’s consciousness about the environment raised very high. We call on the media and every other organisation to join us to raise this awareness,” he added.
While noting that Nigeria had not done much about its marine resources, he promised to bring people that would lobby for marine protection.
He noted that with the ongoing protection of the Bar Beach shoreline and land reclamation around Maroko and Lekki, water was finding its level back on the conservation area.
“It means this reserve is under threat. The erosion is now eating up the area. What used to be Bar Beach erosion before is now coming to our part of Lagos. That is why we are asking the authorities, both Lagos State and the Federal Government, especially the Ecological Fund office to do something urgently.
“Our appeal is not just for us alone, but all the communities around us living or deriving their livelihoods from this area.’’
Author: Innocent Anoruo