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The Lagos State Government has partnered with reputable Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) on conservation matters aimed at sustainability as well as conservation of biodiversity and wildlife protection.
Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, in a statement issued on Saturday to commemorate the year 2021 Biodiversity Day, said the greatest problems facing biological diversity today are habitat destructions, overexploitation, pollution and global climate change.
He added that deforestation, sand-filling of wetlands and other open water bodies, construction of buildings and overfishing or 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 commences, it will help protect the critically endangered species from extinction and serve as a springboard for their sustained population in the wild.
Disclosing that Government is also working with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) on conservation matters, the Commissioner expressed the willingness of this administration 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 plants.
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 overemphasised.
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. Overexploitation of wildlife is also a major contributor to the increasing decline in the population of several species of animals in the State”, Bello asserted.
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 a result of increasing human population and their anthropogenic activities.
The Commissioner reiterated that Government frowns at people who deal in the illicit trade of wildlife trafficking and sales, especially in the wet markets across the State, warning people to desist from the illegal act as the Ministry will soon commence statewide 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 the act”, he stressed.
Bello said that the State Government will continue to enact laws and formulate policies on ensuring wildlife and ecosystem protection to help protect the critically endangered species from extinction and serve as a springboard for their sustained population in the wild.
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