Environmentalists at the just-concluded environmental training have urged the Federal Government to enact and enforce laws that would stop local hunters from driving the nation’s animals into extinction.
The participants made the appeal in Lagos after a-week-long training organised by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation in partnership with Earthnewsinfo (an online environment website).
Multiple-award-winning-environment journalist, Jennifer Igwe, organised the week-long Environmental Journalism Summer School for aspiring environmental journalists, particularly those from polluted environments and areas with degradation.
Rukayat Ali-Oluwafuyi, an Environment Consultant, said the only reason why some endangered species like pangolin were being traded was due to ignorance and poverty on the part of the local hunters.
“The reasons some of these endangered species were being traded by the local hunters was because they were not aware of the importance of these animals.”
She said that most of the hunters killing and selling the animals did not know their economic and market values.
“I am begging Nigerians to put the importance of the existence of the animals before money. Like pangolins eat ants; imagine if we do not have pangolins to eat ants, our houses will be littered with ants,“ Ali-Oluwafuyi said.
Another participant, the Chief Executive of Maintenance Ltd., Ogechukwu Igwe-Nnaji, said that environmental distractions and not making the environment conducive for human habitation had been affecting the lifestyles of most Nigerians.
“Wild animals provide sources of learning for humanities and also provide balance temperature in the environment. Most of the wild animals eat grasses and due to their absence, those things they used to feed on will continuec to multiply.
“Absence of snakes will always lead to an increase in the population of rats. The tortoise also eats shell fish and when it is wiped out, the population of shell fish also increases,” Igwe-Nnaji
Another participant, Oyebola Atanda, urged Nigerians to learn more about afforestation policy by planting two trees when cutting a tree to safe the forest from becoming deserts.
She said that before people cut trees, they should consider that it would affect the planet if there was no replacement.
An environmental activist from the Niger-Delta, Ogherekparobo Ehuwubare, said Niger-Delta’s water had been polluted due to constant vandalism.
“As a result of constant vandalism existing in the Niger-Delta, the Federal Government should improve on security efforts to safeguard the pipelines there,” he said.
Uthman Oyebanji, a 500-level student of the Department of Wildlife and Ecotonrism Management at the University of Ibadan, urged Nigerians to start working toward recycling the environment to guarantee healthy and good living.
The Environmental Journalism Summer School is an advocacy programme that seeks to build the capacity of young Nigerians to bring to the fore myriads of environmental challenges bedeviling their communities.