As countries across the globe commemorate this year’s International Day for Biological Diversity, being celebrated every May 22, the governors of the South South states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Rivers have been called upon to take advantage of the rich biodiversity potentials in their states to boost ecotourism with a view to growing the local economy.
In a statement issued by the Travel Writers’ Corps of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), in Yenagoa, endorsed by the chairman of the corps, Comrade Piriye Kiyaramo and secretary, Mr. Aherhoke Okioma and made available to Journalists, the corps reminded policy makers in the South South region of the danger uncoordinated human activities in the name of development pose to the rich ecology, adding that such activities have inadvertently contributed to huge losses of biodiversity.
The leadership of the travel writers’ corps, while expressing its concern over the fast extinction biodiversity noted that experts have warned that: “various impacts such as imbalances in the cyclic pathways of ecosystems, nutrient exchange, climate change, pollution, loss of food diversity, leading to global food security issues, land degradation, causing natural disasters, as well reducing the quality of soil, encroachment of wild habitats, increased probability of novel diseases (like the ongoing pandemic), among others are evident”, lamenting that; “economic losses estimated at $6-11 trillion per year have been estimated just from land degradation.”
The corps also drew the attention of the governors in the zone to the extinction of the rich natural heritage, with particular reference to two of 18 Taxa species known to science, the Niger Delta red Colobus that is only found in Bayelsa and the Preuss’s red colobus in Cross River, calling for urgent steps to preserve these species through proper legal framework to protect them from poachers.
The statement, however acknowledged Bayelsa State governor’s determination to protect all species within the state’s six reserves through a proposed legal framework, by way of initiating fresh bill to repeal obsolete environmental laws, with a directive to the environment ministry and civil society groups to work with his office to prepare and send a bill to the State House of Assembly for consideration in that regard.
The travel writers’ corps commended Governor Douye Dir banning the use of dynamites by fishermen in the creeks and waterways, with a call on relevant stakeholders to come up fresh environmental bill which will make the use of explosives on the state’s waterways an offence, in addition to looking at other ways and means of preserving all rare species in state’s six forest reserves, namely; Taylor Creek, Edumanom Forest, Apoi Creek, Nun River, Igbedi Creek and Ikebiri Creek.
Experts believe that if the human attitude of blindly exploiting biodiversity for their own benefit, while disregarding the balanced survival of other living forms continues, such human actions will pave a path for our own extinction much earlier.
Conservation of biodiversity is pivotal for the management and restoration of ecosystem services. Biodiversity Day 2021 is being celebrated under the slogan: “We’re part of the solution.”
The global ecosystem services provide benefits of $125-140 trillion per year which is more than one-and-a-half times the size of the global gross domestic product.
By Glory Edoni