MORE NIGERIANS has emphasised the importance of wildlife conservation and urged the federal government to factor it as matter of policy. An environmental specialist Umar Ango who spoke to media in Abuja yesterday said that Nigeria should as a matter of urgency develop wild life policy in line with the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP on best environmental management practices. It would be recalled that Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC revealed plans to reduce the impact of its oil exploration and exploitation on the environment as a means of preserving and conserving wildlife resources to demonstrate its support for UNEP environmental programme. Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, made this commitment during the 2016 World Environment Day the theme: “Illegal Trade in Wildlife” as NNPC adopted the slogan “Let’s Go Wild for Life” at the NNPC Towers in Abuja. Represented by the Chief Operating Officer, Corporate Services, Mr. Isa Inuwa, Dr. Kachikwu noted that as part of the Corporation’s determination
to conserve wildlife, it has set up the Lekki Conservation Centre with the support of Chevron Nigeria Limited and Finima Nature Park in Bonny with the support of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG Ltd. He stated that over time, the Federal Government has recognised the importance of wildlife resources and demonstrated its commitment to its preservation by establishing National Parks and Game Reserves for the protection and preservation of wildlife and
their natural habitats. According to him, stopping illegal trade in wildlife would ensure the preservation and maintenance of population of useful species, conservation of wildlife for education and research, protection of the fauna and flora resources from over exploitation for medicine and other economic products and expansion of the sphere for tourism and national development towards job creation through documentary research and supply of cellulose.
“The population of Nigeria wildlife is still evolving and growing and hopefully will be adequately managed to provide same benefit like those of other Nations of Africa. The diversity of Nigeria wildlife has been ranked eleventh in Africa by Nigerian Environmental Action Study Team, NEST, with South and East African countries leading the pack in the African continent, Dr. Kachikwu posited. He urged every staff of the Corporation to support wildlife preservation and conservation in Nigeria for sustainable environment adding that the safety of these endangered species form the success of the NNPC. On his part, the Chief Operating Officer, Corporate Services of the NNPC, Mr. Inuwa said that though the practice of illegal wildlife trade is not common in Nigeria, the business of oil exploration and exploitation affects the environment where such creatures occupy, stressing that there is the need for concerted efforts to safeguard the environment and wildlife from devastation. Also General Manager, Group Health, Safety and Environment Department, Mr. Maduebo Mbakwe said the significance of World Environmental Day is to galvanise individual and collective power for positive impact on the planet and called for sustainable measures to ensure that the NNPC business activities does not impact negatively on the environment and wildlife. Presenting a technical paper on the impact of Oil and Gas activities on conservation of wildlife in Nigeria, the Guest Speaker, Barr. Millicent Ele said the activities of the industry impact negatively on wildlife and called on operators to adopt best practices in order to preserve the fauna and flora for wildlife habitat. She called for the strict enforcement of environmental regulations in order for Oil Companies to operate in line with best practices. It would be recalled that the World Environment Day started in 1972 by UNEP and it is commemorated on June 5th of every year.

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