By Iduozee Paul, Benin
A professor of wild-life management in the Department of Agriculture, University of Benin, members of civil society including Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth in Nigeria, have called for collective efforts to guide, protect and restore the Nigerian ecosystem.
They advocated for the planting of trees, including medicinal trees that would serve as natural medicine for the body, especially, in around the homes and environments to prevent flooding and gully erosion.
Speaking at an event, organized by the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth,Nigeria to mark the 2021 World Environmental Day with the theme:” Ecosystem Restoration”, in Benin city, Prof. Gideon Emelue said at present, the ecosystem in Nigeria is a misnomer and much degraded.
He said the health of the ecosystem affects human health, so it needs protection by man.
“As far as Nigeria and Edo State are concerned, the ecosystem is a misnomer for now, and it has been degraded. Every one of us must play our part. You can see that we are part of it. We are human beings. We have the other part of the ecosystem. Human beings have a major role to play to protect our ecosystem.
“My stand is that, the action should start now right from individuals, communities, institutions, governments and every one of us because if the ecosystem is not restored, we will also die along. We will not be restored also. Before the ecosystem can be restored, we need to be restored first, ” he pointed out.
Prof Emelue called for a change of lifestyle.
“We need to have a paradigm shift and change our way of living concerning some of the things that we do so that the environment will be conducive for every one of us. It is not God that will do it for us. It is use that will suffer if there is disequilibrium in our ecosystem,” Prof Emelue stressed.
In his address, the executive director of ERA/FoEN, Dr. Godwin UyiOjo, said if we want to restore our ecosystem everybody must work collectively to protect the environment.
Dr. UyiOjo said: “To restore our ecosystem, the governments, the CSOs, individuals and families have a great role to play to protect our environment. When you look at the ecosystem, we are talking about the interdependence of man and nature. As we can see, man is in disharmony with nature.
“The trees are being cut down, the compound has been deserted, everywhere you go the environment had been at the receiving end. There is no attempt made so far to replenish the earth. ”
He called for tree planting and other measures to keep the ecosystem in order.
“We are calling on individuals not just to plant trees, but to maintain an ecosystem and have a sense of protecting the environment so that earth balance would be maintained. It would help to address the issue of climate change, deforestation, and all kinds of catastrophic events that we have witnessed that have affected our environment. So, we are asking everyone to be involved in addressing climate change”, Ojo added.
Ojo listed pollution and waste control as other restoration measures.
“One of it is through ecosystem restoration, addressing the issue of pollution and waste in our environment. When we do all these, the ecosystem will be restored. We are not waiting for governments, but we encourage the governments to take the lead.
“We are calling on the CSOs, NGOs and individuals to embark on a new dimension of environmental sustainability ecosystem by keying into the 2021 and 2030 environmental agenda of the United Nations,” Uyi Ojo added.
In his goodwill message, the executive director, Foundation for Good Governance and Social Change, Comrade Austin Osakwe, said in the days of our forefathers, most of the trees planted in their compounds were used as herbal medicines for their health.
He noted that to restore the ecosystem, we must cultivate the attitude of planting trees, and other herbal medicines in our environment and all hands must be on deck to achieve that goal.