Environmental crusaders bag awards, advocate compliance with laws
HUMAN survival in a changing world that is grappling with the effects of climate change has been the lifelong pursuit of a few individuals and environmental activists.
Among these concerned crusaders is the publisher of The Environment Outreach magazine and Egegba of Yenagoa, Chief Noble Akenge.
At the 6th edition of the Environment Outreach Public Lecture with the theme: “Redefining the Environmental Agenda in Nigeria: Imperatives for Compliance, Monitoring and Enforcement,” which took place at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Lagos, 22 notable individuals and organisations were bestowed with awards for recognition for their efforts.
They included the Chief Operating Officer of The Guardian Newspapers, Dr. Alex Thomopulos; member, governing council of Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) and chairman, Lagos Urban Forest Animal Sanctuary Initiative, Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi; Director-General, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Dr. Lawrence Anukam; Amayanabo of Twon-Brass and chairman, Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council, Alfred Diete-Spiff, who was represented by Otonye Efebo, the Ebeneken of Yenagoa City.
Others were, M.A. Clarkson-Kikile, who was represented by Chief Adjai Sakwe; and Chief Executive Officer, Enville Institute of Environmental & Safety Management Dr. Celina Maduemezia, among others.
In his address, Akenge commended the Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, for providing an enabling environment for the event and attributed the peaceful atmosphere and thriving business in the state to good governance.
Akenge, who disclosed that the theme of the lecture was targeted at the young ones, however, lamented that they were absent at the event.
He declared: “A lot of changes have taken place in Lagos with its environmental challenges, necessitating the imperativeness of carrying along the younger generation in this crusade for a safe environment.
“Lagos that I used to know over two decades ago when I was working as a security officer is no longer the Lagos we have now. It was a Lagos with rickety buses, no major roads and BRT lanes on the highways. It was a period when there were no green areas and today’s beautification of urban areas was not part of the city’s landscape.
“Today, despite environmental and developmental challenges, Lagos wears a new look to the credit of the civilian administrations we have had since 1999 and it has strived to maintain its status quo as the economic and commercial nerve-centre of Nigeria.”
Chairman of the occasion, Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi, drew a parallel lines between spirituality and the environment, saying: “The reality is that every known scriptures of every religion emphasise that we human beings are caretakers of God’s creation. The first instruction God gave to man in the Bible was: ‘I have placed you in the garden to care and keep.’
“Man was a gardener in God’s creation before he fell into eating the forbidden fruit. This is because every single thing we need for our survival comes from the creation. No one can hold his breadth for ten minutes unless he is a spirit. Every man needs oxygen. We cannot live without water and food.”
Majekodunmi, however, lamented that man has not been doing a very good job of looking after God’s creation. He confirmed the existence of climate change and blamed man for acts of irresponsibility with the way he relates with the wonderful creation.
“We can have dominion. Dominion is stewardship. This is why I encourage the convener of this event for the good work he has been doing by ensuring we are friendly with nature.”
The guest speaker, Anukam, said the environment could be healthy if man would befriend and respect the environment.
“We are empowered by legislature to collaborate with good initiative that will ensure a healthy environment. We, therefore, look up to this organisation to partner with us so that we can take this gospel of befriending the environment to all parts of country.