By Adesina Wahab
THE Vice-Chancellor, Lagos State University, LASU, Ojo, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, SAN, has charged students and indeed all Nigerians, to be lovers and ambassadors of nature and therefore propagate the message of the vital need to protect nature for the welfare of all.
He made the call during the celebration of this year’s World Wildlife Day organised by the Lagos State University Centre for Environmental Studies and Sustainable Development in partnership with the United States Consulate.
He noted that loving and preserving nature is in the best interest of man, and urged Nigerians to be propagators of the need to safeguard it.
“Flora, fauna and human beings are in a sort of symbiotic relationship but we must not go beyond certain limits. The theme for this year’s celebration is: Supporting all life on Earth. The vulture for instance helps us clean up the forest when an animal dies. The forest helps us clean the atmosphere to let us breath clean air. However, some people engage in illegal acts and activities that harm us all whether flora, fauna or human beings.
“Incidentally, most poor countries are rich in biodiversity, but they fritter away such through illegal logging, unabated fishing, illegal wildlife activities among others. We must all be ambassadors of nature. We must know that everything works together and we must be careful about what we do,” he said.
The VC added that out of about 250,000 plant species identified so far, he noted that only about 3,000 species had been put to use by mankind.
He added that misuse of the relationship between human beings and wildlife had led to some diseases being transmitted to man by animals.
Fagbohun, a Professor of Environmental Law, said illegal trade in wildlife ranked fourth on the list of illicit cum criminal activities in the world.
He listed illegal drugs trading, illegal human trafficking and illegal arms trade as the ones that ranked higher than illegal wildlife trade.
In his remarks, the Public Affairs Officer, US Consulate, Russel Brooks, decried the activities of poachers depleting Nigeria’s wildlife resources in places like Okomu Park, Yankari Games Reserve, among others.
He noted that the US Government had spent over $370 million in the past few years to support wildlife activities in the country.
A panel session involving Olumide Idowu, Dr Biodun Denloye and Sarah Farinelli called for more sensitisation of the public on the dangers of depleting wildlife in the country.
Farinelli, a Fulbright scholar, showed a documentary of her efforts at protecting African Mantanee in Badagry area of Lagos.