Nigerians have been cautioned against land, air and water pollution to tackle environmental degradation.
The Cross River State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Frankland Briyai said; “All Nigerians should protect their environment, land, water bodies and the air. If we don’t protect our environment, a day is coming that the population will out-growth and we will have more crises.”
He was speaking at a public lecture and award ceremony on ‘Managing Land Degradation in Nigeria: The Challenges, Actions and Remediation’s’’ in Benin-City, the Edo State capital.
Dr. Briyai was one of the awardees on the Distinguished Leadership award.
He said; “I feel very happy receiving this award, I feel honoured. It’s also to encourage me to continue doing what I have been doing to ensure that the environment is protected from my own end.”
He said as the Resident Electoral Commissioner, he played a vital role to avoid land degradation in Cross River State.
“Since I went to Cross River State, I ensured that our state offices are kept in good state. I stopped degradation of environment especially the erosion by planting grasses around the 18 Local Government Areas of Cross River State to avoid erosion,’’ Dr. Briyai stated.
A member of the National Assembly, Professor Steve Azaiki who was among the awardees advised government and private individuals to join work together on how to solve the problem.
“We all must show concern about what is going on in our environment because we live in a country where we leave everything in the hand of the government, even when is our own responsibility. So every citizen must know that environmental degradation at the long end will affect all of us. The government has a role to play in providing some funding and making sure that these environmental degradation will come to a closure, so it is the combination of the people and the government to work together, to ensure that we protect an environment that we can hand over to the next generation,’’ Professor Azaiki explained.
The National Coordinator, Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), Dr. Salisu Mohammed Dahiru said land degradation seriously affects Nigeria.
“About 24 billion tons of total soils are loss every year globally, in fact, Nigeria is said to be one of the countries with the highest degradation rate in the world. Land degradation affects four hundred and fifty to six hundred thousand acres of lands annually in Nigeria,’’ he stated.
Dr Dahiru further identified the causes of land degradation to include; “population pressure, cutting of trees, bush burning, mining for mineral, and exposure of naked soil among others.’’
Major cause of land degradation
According to him, the major cause of land degradation are climate change and erosion.
Dr. Dahiru advised Nigerians to try as much as possible to prevent land degradation.
“The duty of the government is to enforce the regulation that is already in place but government cannot be everywhere. Once we know that we need land to survive then we can help on our own to preserve that land to ensure that it is not a threat to our livelihood and our existence’’.
The event was organised by the publisher of the Environment Outreach magazine, Noble Akenge. It is tagged the 10th Environmental Outreach Public lecture and Environmental Awards Ceremony.
It brought Environment experts and stakeholders together to share experiences and brainstorm on how to tackle land degradation in Nigeria.