Prof Lawrence Ezemoye
Prof Lawrence Ezemoye

From  Douglas  Benebiri  South South Bureau Chief
The President of the Nigeria Environmental Society, Professor Lawrence
Ezemonye has called on Nigerians to pay special attention to
environmental degradation because of the number of pollution-induced
human risk and deaths.
Speaking with newsmen in his office at the University of Benin, in the
Edo state capital, Professor Ezemonye said that there are many
Economic losses associated with Environmental degradation but the
unaccounted human health risk is also staggering. He said his concern
is to place emphasis on prevention as according to him the effects of
these environmental crises are usually irreversible. ‘Some health
implications of pollution and environmental contamination are
irreversible’.
He said, for instance, there are some pollutants that are carcinogenic
and mutagenic, that induces health hazard which ultimately ends in
death. Professor Lawrence Ezemonye said the current economic crisis
can also be associated with agents of environmental degradation such
as the Deforestation, Urbanisation, Oil Spill, Gas Flaring, Vehicular
Emission, Biodiversity loss, Desertification, flooding among others.

He also said that Biodiversity loss is caused by uncontrolled hunting,
habitat destruction through deforestation and Erosion. The United
States Agency for International Development [USAID] Report on
Biodiversity and Tropical Forestry Assessment recorded that there are
too many environmental threats in Nigeria affecting Biodiversity.

On Desertification, the Professor said currents report shows that
Nigeria loses about 350,000 hectares of land every year to desert
encroachment.  ‘About 35million people located in the eleven frontline
states of Northern Nigeria and in other parts of the country are
facing threats of hunger as a result of extreme weather conditions. It
is estimated that Nigeria loses about five billion N5.1billion every
year owing to rapid encroachment of deserts and drought in most parts
of the North.

He also noted that gas flaring is continuing in the country because of
the lack of decisive will to stop the flaring. He stressed that it is
important to stop gas flaring and the gas flared should be channeled
into utilization. He said if the gas currently flared can be utilized,
it will help in providing constant and regular power supply in the
country.
Statistics shows he said that Nigeria flares 17.2 billion m3 of
Natural gas which is equal to approximately one-quarter of the current
power consumption of the African continent. ‘In the first half of
2016, Nigeria lost about $336.33 million as oil and gas companies
operating in the country flared 112.11 Standard cubic Feet of gas
between January and June 2016.’
He has also confirmed that as the President of the Nigeria
Environmental Society emphasis will be placed on advocacy and
environmental education. He said that the 30 states chapters of NES
have a clear mandate to address Environmental issues peculiar to their
states, to adopt and promote preventive strategies.
He said key sectors to target include women, youths, SMEs and
industries. As are plans are on the way to work with the National
Council of Women Societies to organize a workshop on Rural Women and
Environment.  ‘Nigerian Environmental Society is poised to work and
partner with the Federal Government as shown in the lifetime
achievement award given to Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari on the
cleanup of the Ogoni. ‘
Professor Ezemonye concluded by saying that said ‘no development is
without environmental cost. Thus government and environmental
practitioners must ensure that the process of Environmental Impact
Assessment [EIA] and Evaluations must provide strategies for
mitigating the intensity of anticipated environmental cost. This is in
tandem with the Global Principles of Sustainable Development Goals
[SDG].

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