LAGOS TO PARTNER STAKEHOLDERS ON BIODIVERSITY/WILDLIFE PROTECTION

Lagos State Government has commenced collaboration
with reputable Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) on conservation matters aimed at sustainability, conserving biodiversity and wildlife protection.

Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello in a statement on Saturday in commemoration of the year 2021 Biodiversity Day, said the greatest problems facing biological diversity today are habitat destructions, over exploitation, pollution and global climate change.

He added that deforestation, sand-filling of wetlands and other open water bodies, construction of buildings, overfishing/overhunting amongst others result in considerable changes in the ecological balance.

While identifying the cooperation and collaboration of relevant stakeholders as a solution to the problem, the Commissioner said amongst the steps taken is an ongoing partnership with the Lekki Urban Forest and Animal Sanctuary initiative (LUFASI) on the conservation of vultures, pangolin and Ekki tree population in the State.

He expressed the hope that when the project eventually commenced, it will help protect these critically endangered species from extinction and serve as a springboard for their sustained population in the wild.

He disclosed that Government is also working with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) on conservation matters and also willing to partner with other stakeholders in the course of wildlife and biodiversity protection in the State.

Bello said the Theme for this Year’s celebration “We are part of the solution #ForNature” aligns perfectly with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 14 (Life under Water) and 15 (Life on Land) that about 20% of the animal protein diet for close to 3 billion people worldwide is gotten from fish, while 80% of human diets is from plant.

According to the Commissioner, 80% of rural dwellers in the world depend on traditional herbs for their basic health care, therefore the importance of biodiversity cannot be overemphasized.

He noted that the need by property developers to acquire land for housing developments in the State has led to the destruction of many wetlands and forest ecosystems which SERVE as habitats for a considerable percentage of the State’s biodiversity.

“Pollution of water bodies with refuse and other harmful substances are also a cause for concern as mentioned earlier. Over exploitation of wildlife is also a major contributor to the increasing decline in the population of several species of animals in the State” he emphasized.

He mentioned that amongst the animals facing imminent threat of extinction are the Pangolin, Vulture, Sea Turtle and Manatee populations saying that the trend of progressive biodiversity loss in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems is as a result of increasing human population and their anthropogenic activities.

He reiterates that Government frowns at the people who deal in the illicit trade of wildlife trafficking and sales, especially in the wet markets across the state warning that people should desist from the illegal act as the Ministry will soon commence a State-wide surveillance and enforcement of same to curb the menace.

“Apart from the threat the trade poses to wildlife population, the possible outbreak of very dangerous zoonotic diseases is of serious concern to this Government and therefore shall not continue to condone this act” he stressed.

He said that Government will continue to enact laws and formulate policies on ensuring wildlife and Ecosystem protection in the State to help protect these critically endangered species from extinction and serve as a springboard for their sustained population in the wild.

Signed

Kunle Adeshina
Director (Public Affairs)
MOE &WR
May 22, 2021