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World Environment Day: Nnimmo Bassey seeks state of emergency on environment

By George George Idowu with Agency Report

The Executive Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Dr Nnimmo Bassey, has urged the Federal Government to urgently declare a state of emergency on the environment.

He made the call on Wednesday in a statement to commemorate the 2024 World Environment Day (WED).

Bassey said that the 2024 World Environment Day was dedicated to communities whose lands and livelihoods had been lost to extractivism and pollution.

The theme for 2024 WED is “Land Restoration, Desertification and Drought Resilience.’’

According to Bassey, this year’s celebration urges us to reflect on stewardship duty towards the nature, environment and all living beings rather than continuing with a predatory and destructive relationships that negate collective well-being.

He urged that steps must be taken to halt deforestation, biodiversity erosion and land degradation, adding that without serious climate action humanity would remain on a downward spiral to multiple crises that were already plaguing the world.

“Today is a good time for reflection and a change of direction.”

Bassey said that the 2024 WED offered Nigeria a template for socioeconomic and environmental reexamination and action.

He explained that parts of Africa were ravaged by environmental degradation, water stress and drought as Nigeria was particularly affected by desertification and other ecological harms.

“As we celebrate World Environment Day, we remind ourselves that our environment has been plagued with destructive activities especially through resource extraction and poor land-use changes.

“Nigeria needs an emergency environmental restoration plan across board as the only way to build resilience and ensure a safe future.

“This is our duty to ourselves and to future generations and immediate steps should be taken by the Nigerian government to ensure the proper clean-up of polluted lands, restoration of same and payment of compensation for damage suffered.

“We must wake up from the futile dream that the earth can be recklessly exploited without dire consequences.

“We need to understand that the generous gifts of Nature must be handled with gratitude and care.

“We are living witnesses to the crimes committed in mining communities, oil fields and conflict zones.

“We must protect our biodiversity; reject species-eroding genetic modifications of all sorts and support harmonious relationships with Nature.”

Bassey said that the WED was an important day for governments to resolve to ensure that communities were fully informed, consulted and their consent received before projects that impacted of the environment were designed or implemented.

According to him, it must never be forgotten that these communities continuously tackle the impacts of the multidimensional ecological crisis in their unsupported and vulnerable state and deserve to be protected.

“We should transformatively change our policies and choices to live sustainably in harmony with nature; with the complete understanding that the planet is our only home and that her resources are finite,” he said.

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