Protect nation’s biodiversity potential for economic gains- Don tells FG

 Prof. Edem Eniang of Department of Forestry and Wildlife, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to safeguard the nation’s biodiversity assets.Eniang, who made the call at the 17th AKWAABA Africa Travel and Tourism Market in Lagos, said the nation’s biodiversity was capable of generating revenue for the nation if adequately tapped.

He said that Nigeria remained a biodiversity hotspot with unique floral and fauna assets, adding that the loss of the nation’s biodiversity was dangerous and the consequences were immediate.He noted that to save these unique biodiversity potential, the Federal Government must enforce the implementation of relevant multi-lateral, international agreements related to biodiversity.According to him, such agreements as; Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora and the Convention on Migratory Species must be enforced.“

Aside this, we need to organise an inventory of our biodiversity and document them for eco-tourism and posterity.“There should be an increase in communication, education and public awareness on biodiversity such as eco-tourism, eco-tourism is a money spinner any time.“There should be provision of alternatives to bush meat and fisheries, this will go a long way in minimising the rate at which people kill animals for consumption purposes.The Don said of the 47,677 species of IUCN red data list of 2018, 17, 291 were deemed to be at serious risk of extinction.He said this revealed that 21 per cent mammals, 30 per cent amphibians, 12 per cent birds, 28 per cent reptiles, 37 per cent of freshwater fishes, 70 per cent of plants, 35 per cent of invertebrates were all under treat of extinction.Eniang who harped on the essence of maintaining nation’s biodiversity features said that biodiversity conservation provided substantial benefits to meet immediate human needs.According to him, such needs were clean consistent water flow, protection from flood and storms, a stable climate as a foundation for eco-tourism.

He noted that the loss of the nation’s biodiversity will result in fewer opportunities of livelihood, better health, education and a better future.“

The loss of our biodiversity will also lead to lack of forest resources such as food or plants for medicines, fewer fishes in the sea, meaning less food for survival, leading to lack of clean water.“Cultural diversity and biodiversity are intimately related to each other. If we lose one, we risk loosing the other,” he said.