The Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, has called for positive action to save the Niger Delta environment for future generations.
She made the call yesterday at the flag-off the World Environment Week organised by the NDDC as part of activities to mark the 2016 World Environment Day, which will climax on June 5. The event started with a road show from the Commission’s headquarters on Aba Road to its permanent site along the Eastern Bye-pass in Port Harcourt, where trees were planted by the Acting Managing Director and other directors of the Commission.
Mrs. Semenitari said that this year’s celebration was significant for people in the Niger Delta because it marked the beginning of the fulfillment of the Federal Government’s promise to clean up the region, starting with the strategic Ogoni clean-up exercise taking off on Thursday.
She said: “We all owe future generations a responsibility to preserve the biodiversity of the Niger Delta. We all need to take part in environmental action and become agents of change for positive impacts on the planet. Today’s tree-planting exercise typifies such action.”
“This year’s theme is on the illegal trade in wildlife, which is eroding earth’s precious biodiversity, robbing us of our natural heritage and driving species to the brink of extinction. The NDDC is statutorily mandated to tackle ecological and environmental problems in the Niger Delta region. Evidently, the killing and smuggling of wildlife constitute ecological and environmental problems. They also undermine economies and ecosystems, fuel organized crime, and feed corruption and insecurity across the globe.”
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer said that tackling the scourge of illegal trade in wildlife required concerted action, noting that the illicit business was doing a lot of damage to the environment, livelihoods, communities and security.
Mrs. Semenitari said that people needed to change their habits and behaviour so that demand for illegal wildlife products would fall. She added: “It is not just the demand for illegal wildlife that must fall. It is also the demand for illegal crude, the destruction and vandalism of pipelines in the region. Our ecosystem is our wealth, and the protection of our region is, first and foremost, the responsibility of all who live and do business in the region.”
She urged everyone to “Go Wild for Life and save our planet. Whoever you are, and wherever you live, show zero-tolerance for the illegal trade in wildlife and the destruction of our environment, in word and deed, and make a difference.”
The President of the Nigerian Environmental Society, NES, Professor Lawrence Ezemonye, said the society was committed to the protection, development and sustenance of the environment. He remarked that as the “Premier Environmental Society in Nigeria,” and the “Watchdog of the environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” NES was encouraged by the activities lined up by the NDDC to mark the World Environment Day.
Professor Ezemonye, who is the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration) of the University of Benin, said that the Nigerian Environmental Society found it fit to present an award to the NDDC Acting Managing Director for leading the Commission in making a big difference in this year’s environment day activities.
The NES President said: “What she has done today is not just symbolic, it is strategic. What she has done is proactive, encouraging, inspiring and enduring. We have, therefore, dimmed it very fit to give her an award for promoting environmental awareness which is the cornerstone of the efforts to save the Nigerian environment.”