The Ministry of Environment says it is making effort to decontaminate schools across the country before the resumption of students.
Dr Mohammad Abubakar, the Minister of Environment made this known while briefing the newsmen on activities to kick start the 2020 World Environment Day (WED) on Thursday in Abuja.
World Environment Day is marked every year all over the World on June 5.
Abubakar said that the ministry’s health officers in all the six geopolitical zones would handle the exercise before schools resumed.
“We have started decontamination in all the six geopolitical zones and we are now waiting for additional response from the government to accelerate decontamination of schools,” he said.
“We have just concluded arrangement with the management of airport and owners of airlines to disinfect all the airports because aviation is key and must be handled for safety purpose,” he said.
He, however, said that COVID-19 had been a bless in disguise to all nations in the area of reduction emission from vehicles, airlines among others.
“While we continue to battle with the crisis as environmentalists, we must continue to contribute our quota in the collective efforts being made to contain the spread of the pandemic.
“For this reason, the UN deems it fit to address biodiversity with the theme: ‘‘Time for Nature’’, with a focus on its role in providing the essential infrastructure that supports life on earth and human development.”
He said that over one million plant and animal species risk extinction largely due to human activities, which calls for action to combat the accelerating species loss and degradation of nature.
“The theme is indeed very appropriate, considering the fact that researchers and scientist have established COVID-19 to be zoonotic.
“In order to fully address and prevent future pandemics therefore, we must restore, conserve and protect biodiversity as key antidotes to COVID-19 recovery.”
According to UNEP, 2020 is a year for urgency, ambition and action to address the crisis facing nature.
He said that it was also an opportunity to fully incorporate nature-based solutions into global climate action, especially as commemorating the day has become a powerful platform to engage communities and governments around the world to take action on challenges facing the planet.
“In this regard, the ministry is using an alternative online platform for delivering the advocacy for this year’s WED.
“The online event will be hosted on ‘zoom’ with a series of talks as regards our commitment to Biodiversity Conservation.
“Biodiversity is the foundation for life and there are myriads of benefits amongst which are, livelihoods and sustainable development, improvement and delivery of food security, growth, increase in job opportunity,
strengthening of global healthcare support systems.
“The ecosystem is the baseline that holds all of these together. Human interaction with the ecosystem must therefore remain balanced, otherwise we risk disrupting nature with their consequence as we are seeing with the COVID 19 pandemic.
“Our climate, physical environment and vegetation zones in Nigeria endow our country with a very diversed ecosystem, species of fauna and flora.
“The forests in Nigeria are currently estimated to extend to around 9.6 million hectares, this we are expanding with added efforts of the Great Green Wall, REDD+ and the Green Bonds supported afforestation projects amongst several others.
“From all this, we must ensure that post-COVID recovery is tied to our Climate Actions and Sustainable Development Goals.
“We as a global community have to stay on track with our climate targets for us to recover greener and better for people and planet.’’
The minister said that biodiversity remained the answer to a number of sustainable development challenges being faced in the country.
“The Federal Government is fully committed to the Global Biodiversity Framework under the convention on Biological Diversity and Nigeria is leading the ECOWAS member states on Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework.”