Lagos restates commitment to environmental conservation

The Lagos State Government, on Tuesday, restated its commitment to environmental conservation through continuous awareness on the importance of wetlands.

… As the State Joins the World to Celebrate Y2021 World Biodiversity Day

The Lagos State Government, on Tuesday, restated its commitment to environmental conservation through continuous awareness on the importance of wetlands.

Speaking at an event organised by the State Government to mark the 2021 World Biodiversity Day at Alausa, Ikeja, the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, called for the adoption of best practices to protect the ecosystem across the State.

The Commissioner, who described the wetlands as a good source of freshwater, stated that action must be put in place to restore them as well as stop their depreciation and loss.

He said this year’s theme “Wetland and Water – Inseparable and Vital for Life”, is very apt as it aims to highlight the importance of freshwater to human existence, adding that the shortage of housing is not as dire as the shortage of freshwater.

He explained that man is known to utilise more freshwater than the ability of the wetlands to naturally replenish and regenerate, noting that for this reason it is very important to manage the relationship between man with wetlands so as to ensure continuous availability for man’s life processes.

“Wetlands are known to be natural purifiers, but the Wetlands in the State are facing unprecedented pressure for housing occasioned by an increasing human population. This has consequently led to sand-filling and loss of the wetlands and their ability to naturally purify water and recharge the underground aquifer for various human uses”, he said.

Bello said the State Government would continue to address wetland quality decline through wetland restoration plans, continuous cleaning up of wetlands as well as ensure the integration of wetlands into development plans and resource management.

He noted that the State Government has at different times designated certain wetlands as protected areas to maintain their pristine nature and also recently installed signposts in all the wetlands in the State to further protect them from encroachment as well as preserve their natural functions, one of which is water purification.

While revealing that a sector policy on wetland and biodiversity is being developed to ensure balanced development, he noted that all future developments on or around wetlands will be subjected to a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process in line with world’s best practices.

Bello averred that the government has commenced the monitoring of degraded Wetlands in the State with a view to developing regulation for their management in order to prevent further encroachment.

The Commissioner, however, urged all those involved in illegal reclaiming of wetlands to desist from the act, while also warning residents to desist from the indiscriminate dumping of waste in the wetland and ensure that buildings are not constructed on government reserved areas as the present administration remains committed to protecting the wetland and its biodiversity.

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The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.