14th June, 2010
Popular music icon, Abass Akande, alias Obesere; Group Managing Director, First City Monument Bank, FCMB, Mr. Ladi Balogun and 12 other notable Nigerians have been named Environmental Ambassadors by the Lagos State government as a result of their contribution towards a better environment.
They were honoured recently as part of activities commemorating the World Environmental Day held at the Lagos Television, Lagos, Nigeria.
Former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Lagos State, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Erelu Abiola Dosumu, Mr. Emmanuel Ekunno; Abdul Olabinjo and Mrs. Kofo Adeleke were named Environmental Ambassador Emeritus.
Pastor Ibitokun Pedro, an Electoral Commissioner with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC; Mr. Azuh Arinze, Editor, Encomium Weekly Magazine; Alhaja Taibat Borokinni; Mr. Oladipo Awofadeju; Colonel Ibim Lawson; Oluwabukola Wright and hip-hop artist, Wande Coal were named Environmental Ambassadors for contributing positively to the environment.
The theme of this yearâ€™s World Environment Day was: Many Species, One Planet, One Future.
â€œAs temperature warms, animals and plants either look for cooler place or die.Â Over 17,000 species are threatened with extinction.Â The world belongs to man, animals and plants and we all depend on one another, the extermination of one spells the extinction of another,” Governor Fashola warned.
â€œThis worrisome trend is a strong signal that human beings are not free from this scourge as we all live in one planet and our future is determined by the same indices.Â That we human beings are able to cope all this far is because of the degree of our ability to adapt. It strongly behoves us that we urgently redirect our developmental steps to avoid stressing the nature any further,â€ said Governor Babatunde Fashola.
The governor, whose speech was read by the Commissioner for Establishment, Training and Pensions, Mr. Jide Sanwo-Olu, also lamented that: â€œShipwrecks are the major causes of navigational problems, community displacement, loss or submergence of lands between the Atlantic coast and Lagoon creeks, the release of toxic and other dangerous emissions into waterways. These constitute threat to aquatic life,â€ he said.
According to him, the threat that shipwrecks constituted to the lives and property of Lagosians and Nigerians as a whole brought the topic to the front burner at the recently concluded climate change summit.
â€œWe will, however, continue to consolidate on them and seek other ways of curbing the trend of shipwrecks and allied problems through cooperation and collaboration with other stakeholders, especially Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and the National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA,â€ he added.
Fashola appealed to Local Government chairmen to be champions and advocates for mitigation and adaptation strategies that reduces or eliminates the human impact of climate change.
Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Muiz Banire said the theme of the celebration admonished that â€œwe should all look around us and see how many plants and animals are on the verge of extinction.
The rapid disappearance of species is classified as one of the planetâ€™s weighty environmental worries due to pollution, global warming and climate change. There are fearful indications that â€˜mass extinctionâ€™ of plants, including fruit bearing and medicinal ones and animals is imminent.
He called on all to make frantic effort to rescue the environment from the impact of climate change and its attendant effect.
Prof. Emmanuel Obot, Executive Director, Lekki Conservation Foundation, noted that apart from invasive alien plants and oil pollutants, the mangrove swamp forest, a major part of Nigeriaâ€™s ecosystem is gradually being destroyed. Human activities such as gas flaring, abandonment of equipment, over-grazing and massive hunt for games constitute avoidable threats to the ecosystem.
While suggesting that our national priority should be the conservation of the forest system through halting of deforestation and planting of trees, the LCF Director, urged corporate entities not to put profit above environmental sustainability.
In a presentation titled Biodiversity and Ecosystem Care and the Green Economyâ€ Chairman of the Board of Traditional Medicine, Dr. Bunmi Omoseyindemi noted that climate change, if unchecked can hamper the Global GDP by between 5-20% thereby up-scaling poverty and posing serious health challenges.
Citing the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem assessment which concluded that 60% of the Earthâ€™s ecosystems are damaged or being degraded,Â Dr. Omoseyindemi said it is imperative for the human race to embrace a mind-set change which will ensure responsible actions.
While also calling on corporate entities to estimate their activities within the context of the environmental sustainability, the Traditional Medicine Board boss says itâ€™s the era of responsibility.
Calling for the continued protection of the ecosystem, he said the ecosystem constantly supply us with important services like fresh air and water, form the basis of our livelihood, offer recreation for millions of people and have cultural, religious and aesthetic values.
He explained that â€œnature does not only supply us directly useable resources such as nourishment which is the basis of many medicaments, the variety of the ecosystem also helps to stabilize the climateâ€.
In his own paper Prof. Toyin Ogundipe stated that biodiversity boosts the ecosystemâ€™s productivity so the need for preservation of the diversity in the wildlife.
He argued that the ecosystems shape nations by providing essential renewable resources , while sustaining human life by producing goods and services it depends on , including food fibres, shelter, energy, clean air and waterâ€.
In his remarks, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola alluded to the fact that climate change had been linked to increase in the number of female children delivered in the tropics just as it has also led to miscarriages and sperm quality.
He also noted that the global warming has impacted on the diseases we had to contend with adding that there is a need for urgent action.