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Stakeholders advocate preservation of ecosystem

Stakeholders have called for collaborative efforts for sustainable actions towards the preservation of the ecosystem, as the bodies come together to celebrate International Biodiversity Day.

The stakeholders disclosed this at an event on the International Biodiversity Day held in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

The International Biodiversity Day is celebrated annually on May 22 and the theme for the 2023 celebration is “From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity.”

The Catholic Archbishop of Ibadan Archdiocese Most Rev Gabriel Abegunrin, at the event, disclosed that the Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria had begun the drive towards the conservation of biodiversity of the ecosystem with the mandate of planting 20,000 trees yearly by each diocese.

He stated: “We want to stop desertification. Again to make the soil rich, if there are plants on it the soil will generate the food we need and wherever there are lots of greens then oxygen is plentiful there. Maybe the reason some people are dropping dead is because of a lack of oxygen.

“Food also will be plentiful when we plant things, there are a lot of gains behind it that human beings can benefit from as over a billion people are suffering from hunger in the world and this is one of the things that would alleviate hunger. And our soil is rich, this is a big effort we all should do,” Abegunrin said.

In his address, the President, of Nigeria Institute for Soil Science, Abuja and Chairman, of GIS Konsult, Prof. Ayoade Ogunkunle, advocated knowledge sharing and education of the populace to reduce human activities that destroy the ecosystem.

Ogunkunle said, “People like us who know the way the ecosystem is being destroyed make sure that those who are practicing particularly those who are dealing with the soil, the farmers and others who clear roads and road makers should know that soils are of different qualities and the best quality should be reserved.”

In his presentation, the Agro-Biodiversity Conservation Project Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer, GIS Konsult, Mr David Afolayan, revealed that the UN expects all those who signed COP15 to move from agreement to action.

He noted: “We identified this community as a biodiversity-rich environment and in their celebration, they have agreed to build back biodiversity. They have trees on the ground which we are naming and tagging and we are putting them on a digital platform that will enrich the knowledge of young people that are coming.

“We are engaging the various scientific bodies who are collaborating with us and bringing detailed knowledge about our environment,” Afolayan said.

He disclosed that 700 trees would be planted in the Dominican community which would serve as a model for all schools across the state and Nigeria as a whole to identify and preserve the endangered tree species and those at risk and plant new trees.

Afolayan called on individuals, schools and organizations to have conservation gardens to preserve biodiversity.

In his keynote address, Dr Timothy Ajiboye, of the National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology, (NACGRAB) reiterated the importance of biodiversity to humans and the environment, health and medicine, as well as preservation of land degradation and food production.

Ajiboye said: “Biodiversity includes microorganisms and fauna which are animals and florals which are plants; which are all important for our well-being. We should learn to protect our environment and plant a tree today.”

Also, the President, the Society for Conservation of Biology, Dr Adedotun Afolayan, stated that the commemoration of the day was a call to action to bring back the lost biodiversity.

He noted: “Everybody’s hand must be on deck. We are all called to save biodiversity, whether they are the threatened one, endangered one or the critically endangered one and it starts from little actions.”

In his remarks, the prior, Dominican Community Ibadan, Fr. Paul Akpomie, said: “As a community, we are trying to tap into the United Nations Charter concerning biodiversity, so today we are not just putting it as principles we are putting it to work to preserve indigenous crops.”

Also, the Master of Students, Dominican Province of St. Joseph the Walker (Nigeria and Ghana) disclosed that it was important for people to be deliberate about tree planting.

The event was organised by GIS Konsult, in collaboration with the Dominican Community, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Dominican Chapel and the 700th anniversary of the Canonisation of St. Thomas Aquinas.

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