The Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tunji Bello, made the call at a Zoom Conference to mark the 2020 World Environment Day with Theme “Biodiversity: Time for Nature” held in Lagos.
Bello said that biodiversity represented a critical part of the natural environment.
He explained that biodiversity was an essential asset that must be sustainably managed, wisely utilized and conserved for present and future generations.
He said the World Environment Day was a global event, celebrated annually on the 5th of June, to appreciate and demonstrate support for environmental protection.
The commissioner said that the event had remained a flagship campaign for raising awareness on emerging environmental issues such as climate change, pollution, wildlife crime and now caring for nature amongst others.
He described this year’s theme as apt and a typical measure of variation at genetic, species and ecosystem level.
“Biodiversity is the variety of plants and animals that live in an ecosystem while importance of biodiversity include provision of food security, environmental stability, national biological heritage and recreational values, amongst others.
” The biodiversity of Lagos state and indeed the world was being threatened by rapid urbanization and connected factors.
“Lagos State as a coastal state is blessed with rich ecosystem and great biodiversity in both plants and animals.
“The environment must not be destroyed for development and survival, and biodiversity should be preserved because of its wildlife and natural attributes which would attract people to the location.
“These ecosystems are home to a rich variety of aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals. Sadly all these are under serious threat of extinction from a range of causes, which include rapid urbanization,” Bello said.
The commissioner noted that the State Government’s commitment to sustainable management of its biodiversity was unwavering.
He said this was demonstrated through various laudable plans and programmes such as the deliberate exposure of students to wetlands, zoological gardens and conservation areas in the state through the introduction of ecotourism programme for students in the state.
Bello said that Lagos State was set to explore the linkage between tourism and biological diversity by preserving the state two major wetlands which are Yaafin Wetland, Badagry and Itoikin Wetland, Epe.
According to him, the preserved wetlands were expected to serve as tourist centres in the nearest future.
He called on Lagos residents to find fun and exciting ways of experiencing, cherishing and sustaining this vital relationship with nature.
Prof. Baraka Animashaun, Department of Paediatrics, Lagos State University (LASU), in a topic “Biodiversity and Covid-19”, said there was need to care and sustain the UN 17th Sustainable Development Goal.
He said that Covid-19 had impacted negatively on the sustainable development goal.
Animashaun urged Nigerians to do everything possible to preserve nature and stop the release of carbon monoxide while improving on restoring animals in the community.
The Technical Director, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Dr Joseph Onoja, urged Nigerians to stop killings and eating of pangolin.