The Director-General, the National Biosafety Management Agency (NBMA) Dr Rufus Ebegba, says the environment should be given the same credence as national security to make it safer.
Ebegba made this known at the Induction Ceremony of the Environmental Media Correspondents Association of Nigeria (EMCAN) in Abuja on Thursday, November 7, 2019.
He said that the environment needed to be healthy for the nation’s national system to be healthy.
“Our environment is very key, I believe environment if given the same credence in the area of national security, the country will be safer for it.
“All our activities are in the environment, we human beings are in the environment, farming system is in the environment, government is in the environment.
“So, if the environment is not healthy, our national system will never be healthy and the environment should be given the necessary credence, so it will be good for all of us.”
Ebegba assured Nigerians that the agency would continue to come up with products safe to the environment and human health, adding that it would not approve any part of the modern biotechnology that would cause harm to the environment.
He urged the association to stand with government, particularly the NBMA to properly educate Nigerians and dispel the falsehood peddling about GMOs, which had been confirmed safe.
According to him, we will not survive in a system where fear mongering thrives.
Ebegba congratulated the association while encouraging its members to continue to publish facts that enhance the nation’s national unity in the area of environment.
The Conservator-General, National Park Services, Alhaji Ibrahim Goni, said the service would continue to partner with the association in carrying out its activities on reporting on environmental issues.
Goni, represented by Conservator of Park, Abdulrahman Mohammed, said: “Our doors are open to you if you need any information and we wish the association the very best.”
Prof. Nasiru Idris, the Dean, Faculty of Environmental Science, Nasarawa State University, Keffi in his presentation titled: “Environmental Sustainability: Way forward for Nigeria”, said policies and industrial laws were ineffective in Nigeria.
Idris, represented by Dr Chunwate Thomas, said: “The Nigerian experience clearly shows that environmental sustainability as an aspect of sustainable development is yet to be given the unfettered approach it deserves.
“It is the recommended that realistic policies and legal structures must be put in place to harmonise government policies among sectors.
“Government policy must assume people centred notion of development which seeks holistic intervention and not just a peripheral action.”
He added that in order to safeguard the environment, there was a need to critically look into environmental education, awareness and sensitisation, conservation, planning and management.
Idris said that, to sustain the environment, Nigerians must value and protect the environment the way the value and protect their own lives.
Mr Chuks Oyema, the Chairman of the association, said the gathering signalled the association’s intention to contribute through its reportage in making the environment better for human existence.
Oyema said that it was also to carry out “our constitutional responsibility” of holding government accountable to its citizens as well as giving voice to every member of the society.
He said the association would work with government at all levels in carrying out its assignments and collaborate with NGOs and foreign organisations to build the necessary capacity.
“As pressmen, we will continue to raise awareness and work with concerned stakeholders.
“We solicit you carry us along in every decision that will lead to achieving a sustainable environment; we are ready to help you achieve your mandate while working within the ethics and value of our profession.
“If we develop our potential, we will give our best and our future becomes more secure. That is what EMCAN stands for.”
By Okeoghene Akubuike