Conservationists advocate ecosystem restoration, urge youth to save planet

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has called for ecosystem restoration challenging the country’s youth to help save the planet.

The event held at the Lekki Conservation Centre in Lagos and was streamed on Zoom, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook as part of effort to mobilise Nigerian youths to rise and champion courses that will promote ecosystem restoration.

NCF hosted a hybrid event to mark the 19th edition of the Chief S.L Edu Memorial Lecture with the theme: “Youth and Ecosystem Restoration”.

The Senior Manager, Youth Leadership Programme, African Wildlife Foundation, Ms. Simangele Msweli, led other youth conservationists, such as Ms. Omobola Eko; Mr. Abubakar Muhammad and Ms. Nella Duke Ekpeyong.

In her presentation, Msweli said the world needs urgent restoration of the ecosystem which has been degraded for so long. She identified poor implementation of policies and strategic action programmes in African countries owing to bad leadership, corruption and non-youth integration.

In his opening remarks, President, Board of Trustees, NCF Chief Philip Asiodu, who also doubled as the Chairman at the Memorial Lecture, observed that “Our forest reserves have depleted significantly from 35% to 3%, thereby denying animals their natural habitat which could possibly bring harm to human environment.”

Chief Asiodu expressed concern that “when we look at our environment today, especially people who have been around before independence, one will be moved to tears at the level of degradation, loss of wetlands, desertification and fast disappearing forest.” He urged that some immediate actions must be taken to end this so as to bequeath a legacy of halting and reversing the loss – a legacy of total restoration of the ecosystem; a legacy of saving our world.

In the same vein, Chairman, National Executive Council of NCF, Chief Ede Dafinone, said “This year’s topic is very important to us because we seem to have severed our relationship with the ecosystem, with the earth, and with the planet. We are plundering and polluting nature’s resources, treating our planet as dumping ground for plastic and other waste. It has been projected that we could lose one million species in the next few decades if we don’t act now. Unfortunately, there’s no planet B, where we can move to, in the future.”

However, he added that “There are some actions we can take, starting from today, individually and collectively to recreate our relationship with the planet and restore our ecosystem.

In his address, Director General of NCF, Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, called on African youths to take the driver’s seat in the global decade-long project of ecosystem restoration from 2021-2030.

According to him, “The youths have the energy, technical savviness and the information at their disposal to make a meaningful contribution to environmental restoration”.

Also General Manager, Policy, Govt & Public Affairs, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Mr. Esimaje Brikinn, revealed that his organisation is transparently committed to advancing a lower carbon future, one that meets the global needs of all people, through affordable and reliable and ever cleaner energy towards achieving a more prosperous and sustainable world.