Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet), a civil society group, says sustainable use of marine resources will enhance Nigeria’s economic development.
Dr Ibrahim Choji, Chairman of the network’s Board of Trustees, was speaking on the commemoration of this year’s World Wildlife Day.
World Wildlife is celebrated on March 3 every year and the theme for the 2019 celebration is “Life below Water: For People and Planet.”
Choji said that conservation of the oceans, seas and other abundant marine resources in Nigeria had been identified as a key step in achieving sustainable development in the country.
“Marine wildlife has sustained Nigerians for many years as it provides food, nourishment and materials for handicraft and construction.
“The capacity of life below water to provide these services is severely impacted as our planet’s oceans and the species that live within them are under onslaught from various forms of threats.
“This year’s theme, therefore, aligns essentially with Goal 14 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG14) which aims to conserve and use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
“This is the first World Wildlife Day to focus on life below water and it presents an opportunity to raise awareness on the importance and rich diversity of marine life in Nigeria”, he said.
Choji, who noted that marine species was essential to Nigeria’s development said it behooved on government to ensure that Nigeria’s marine resources were conserved.
He said this would enable the resources to continue to provide the services for future generations.
The chairman said that the increasing loss of marine resources occasioned by shrinking of Lake Chad, had contributed greatly to the level of insurgency across the North-East region of Nigeria.
According to him, this loss of marine wildlife, occasioned by climate change, has led to colossal loss of livelihood for millions of people in the region.
He, therefore, called on all stakeholders to work together for the sustenance of the SDG 14 in the country.
“The challenge is now for us all to ensure that we do not lose more marine resources in the country that may lead to insecurity and needless loss of lives.’’