From: Adeshola Basemosi, Abuja
A group of women under the aegis of Kebetkache Women Development Resource Center has stressed the need to promote biodiversity as a vital tool for reducing climate change impacts.
The place of biodiversity cannot be over-emphasized as it is the epicentre of human existence, the group noted.
In a statement issued at the weekend to mark the World Environment Day, Chief Bridget Okon, Executive Director of the Non-Governmental Organisation described the theme as apt. She said it came at a time when the world is battling climate change effects.
“The importance of this theme cannot be overstressed because biodiversity is the nucleus or epicentre of our human existence, without biodiversity, there will be food insecurity, local migration, loss of livelihood and invasion of territories as we have seen in the past,” she said.
Okon attributed the destruction of the biodiversity as to why the herdsmen are always in search for more fertile grounds, while their cows destroy farmers’ crops.
According to her, the implication of these acts would certainly lead to all manners of conflicts.
Her words: “Biodiversity as this year’s theme is also apt coming at a time when the world is experiencing economic recession due to the ravaging pandemic and it is vital for us to quickly find solutions to overcome this especially through vigorous livelihood programmes in agriculture and training for women.”
Listing other benefits of protecting nature, Okon said biodiversity provides a functioning ecosystem that supplies oxygen, clean air and water for survival. Others benefits of biodiversity are pollination of plants, pest control among others.
However, the group decried continuous pollution of the ecosystem by oil companies especially in the Niger-Delta region during exploration, thus destroying livelihoods of the indigenes.
To this end, Kebetkache urged oil companies in the oil-rich region to protect the country’s biodiversity by ensuring the best practice in oil explorations.
“….. the millions of dead fishes found recently at bonny local government might not be unconnected to crude ways of discharging chemicals to our waterways, streams, creeks and ocean.”
“Kebetkache, she noted has continued to campaign against pollution, flood and lack of livelihood for women in the Niger Delta and Ogoni in particular.
Consequently, it urged governments at all levels to do the needful by protecting the country’s biodiversity.
Meanwhile, five community women groups were supported to mark the world environment day. The women groups supported by the NGO includes Egi Women, Human Rights and Environmental Justice Initiative, Mba Kase Initiative of Alode, Eleme. Abua/Odual Women Development Association, Okwuzi Women Forum and League of Queens International Empowerment
Kebetkache also carried out a tree planting exercise in Oroworukwo Community Secondary School, Port Harcourt.