NCF, Experts Decry Depletion Of Wetlands

NCF, Experts Decry Depletion Of Wetlands—The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) and some environmentalists have expressed concerned over depletion of wetlands in the country.

The experts spoke on Thursday during a symposium to mark the 2023 World Wetlands Day, at the Federal University Dutse (FUD), on Thursday in Dutse, Jigawa.

The Dean, Faculty of Science of the university, Prof. Mustapha Abubakar said that a significant percentage of the wetlands in Jigawa and Yobe were being exposed to the danger of global warming.

He said the depletion of the country’s main wetland was not only posing serious danger to the immediate environment but also to the socio-economic activities.

According to him, the Hadejia-Nguru Wetlands is a very important ecosystem because of the diversity of plants and animals in the areas.

“The Hadejia-Nguru Wetlands is the largest wetlands in Nigeria. In fact it is the only wetland in Nigeria which has been directed by the international body.

“It is known as a Ramsar site, a Ramsar site is an internationally recognised site which is very important,” he said.

Abubakar said that the important of the Ramsar site in Hadejia-Nguru cannot be overemphasised, noting that 75 per cent of it lies in Jigawa while 25 per cent in Yobe.

He, however, said that fishing in the affected areas had significantly dropped by more than 70 per cent, thereby reducing huge revenue generation.

The environmental expert said that involving students in the programme would expose them to the value of conserving the natural environment, and also cherish the culture of promoting the restoration of wetlands through awareness creation.

Also, a senior lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences, Dr Suleiman Muhammad said community sensitisation was key to the restoration, protection and conservation of wetlands in the country.

Muhammad, who presented a paper titled: “It’s Time for Wetlands Restoration,” said the engagement of the students would improve their understanding of the negative effects of global warming on wetlands and the environment.

“Wetlands is a flooded area with water either permanently or seasonally, it doesn’t need to have water all year round but could also have water some months or even throughout the year.

“The importance of wetlands in agriculture and health sectors cannot overemphasised,” he said, adding that there was an urgent need for government and corporate bodies to join hands together for the restoration of wetlands for sustainable 0 economic and social development.

Moreso, Ibrahim Muhammad, Director, Natural Conservation in the Jigawa State Ministry of Environment, said that government would expand its outreach to sensitise rural dwellers on danger associated with climate change.

He advocated for effective snergy between the government and environmental experts to control desert encroachment, especially in rural communities.

On his part  Harry Hanson, NCF Project Officer, Hadejia-Nguru Wetlands Conservation Project, said the programme would educate students on the threat facing the Nigerian environment.

“The global warming,  lost of habitat, a drying off of our wetlands, and the likes. These are factors threatening the Nigerian environment and globally at large,” he said.

According to him, the students will be train and equip with the necessaty information to enable them to promote the restoration of wetlands and address other related environment related issues.

“The NCF will soon organise arts and essay competition where students would be drawn from various schools at state  level.

“The local winners would thereafter meet at the national level produce a winner.

“The foundation will equally unveils its sponsorship programme for prospective researchers, including those going for Masters Degree and PhDs”.

He urged the students and researchers to avail themselves the opportunities to build their capacities and career.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the students were drawn from Brilliantbay school; Gate-Way School; Dutse Capital School; Dutse Model International, GDJSS, Kuho and GUCSS Dutse.

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