A wake up call to our distinguished lawmakers in the various tier of governance especially those saddled with the onerous responsibilities to chart our nation’s environmental future; a plea to revisit the national parks service and the ministry of environment with a view to giving it much leverage to fulfil its mandates and put the nation on the list of countries with the best protected areas in the world.
If consciousness itself is awareness, public awareness can thus act as an effective counterforce to elite industrialist interests who tends to dominate public policy in democratic and market-based societies and serve as a vehicle for articulate community education. It is this intersection between community consciousness and environmental management the thrust that provides significant opportunities and challenges for sustainable development at the local level using the Nigeria national parks as models. Therefore, all well-meaning and patriotic Nigerians at all levels must grapple with the question “how does community consciousness, which is “their participation” help our national parks and their environmental management goals ?” And how do environmental management principles and policies especially current budgetary allocations facilitate effective protected area (National parks) management through greater community participation?
Answering these questions portends a secure and prosperous future for our beloved country. Nigeria will earn greater international carbon credits running into millions of dollars annually from global pool and basically from our own national parks than from any other landscape because the parks are the only localities where undisturbed forests can be found and those are the same places where significant carbon is being sequestered. All the nation needs at the moment is to set up a national mechanism for evaluating and working towards accessing and harnessing our carbon credits. We must first determine how much carbon is being sequestered by our forest and protected areas before making a claim to same.
There is no justification why the nation should not revisit the effective and sustainable management of our grossly underfunded national parks. For the sake of information, a national park such as Cross River national park covers a 4000km square of land and as such larger than several local government areas and impacts upon a larger population of people and communities who all look upon it as the most significant federal government intervention in their favor. Looking at the available words, the park can not boast of even a third of the budgetary allocation that a local government receives, yet national parks build roads, bridges, culverts, hospitals, schools, town halls, provides employment, host and train students of various institutions among numerous other services while remaining the best solution to the mitigation of impending impacts of climate change in West Africa. Records show that some national parks have not received adequate capital allocations for a number of years leading to incapacitation towards the fulfillment of their set objectives of conservation yet we run budget to trillions doing and achieving nothing.
- A black cloud in Port Harcourt
- Desertification in the North
- Charcoal business in the middle belt
- Plastics in water of Lagos
- Erosion in Eastern Nigeria.
We have no other place to call Earth, why not protect this one with adequate policies that will benefit our generation and the future generation regardless.
– Isah Yakubu Ogwu, a passionate Environmentalist, a Forester and Bird/wildlife hazard control professional, writes from Abuja, Nigeria.
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