The annual fundraising dinner of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) tagged Green Ball, was held on Saturday, 16th November, 2019. The event which had the theme “Restoring Mother Nature: New Deal for Nature and People” took place at the Grandball Room of the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, Director General of NCF in his introductory remark, stated that “The alarming conclusions on the seriousness of climate change and environmental degradation in Nigeria makes it necessary for NCF to redouble its efforts. Recent scientific reports from the United Nations and other international agencies show us that climate change and the decline in nature have reached the point where they threaten human existence. This is more so in Nigeria where awareness of environmental issues is quite low and where these issues rank low in priority in our private and national lives. Hence, the essence of our gathering to deliberate and raise fund to raise the bar in the conservation promotion.”

The Chairman of the occasion, who is also the President, Board of Trustees, NCF, Izoma Philip Asiodu revealed his observation about the state of the environment in Nigeria passionately. He alarmed “The nation is losing its land at a fast rate, desert is disappearing, mangroves are being cleared, and pollution is everywhere. The report has it that Lagos and other coastal communities may be submerged under water in 2050 if the Federal Ggovernment does not take drastic steps.”

Also present at the dinner were Minister (State) of Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor; DMD of Total E&P Ltd, Engr Musa Ahmadu-Kida; representative of WWF, Mr. SeifHamisi among others.

The ‘Elegant Stallion’, OnyekaOnwenu entertained the guests with herAfrican pop music.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, the first of its kind business forum which commenced on the previous day was rounded up. The forum brought together stakeholders across Nigeria and international.

The Nigerian Business for Nature was a platform where officials and business leaders shared experiences and organisation’s best practices on the environment. Participants include government officials led by Chief Sharon Ikeazor, Director Generals of institutes, heads/reps from corporate organisations, WWF, RSPB and Birdlife International.

Among the sponsors for the night were Total E&P Nig. Ltd; Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG); Chevron Nigeria Ltd; Sokoto State Government; Ecobank Plc; Stanbic IBTC bank; Keystone bank Plc; Firstbank Private Banking; Ethopian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Environmental Accord among others.

At the 12th edition of the annual “Walk for Nature” themed, Plastic Pollution: The Enemy of Our Development Agenda, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), in conjunction with the Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources re-examined the menace of single use plastic.

The 3.5km march through Inner and Outer Marina had over 600 participants donning t-shirts bearing the theme of the event.The procession was led by the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, office of the Environmental Services, Mrs Belinda Odeneye and the Chairman National Executive Council of NCF Chief Ede Dafinone.

The Commissioner, in his keynote address revealed that although plastic has many valuable uses, people have become addicted to single use such as straws, Styrofoam etc. he said “Around the world, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute, while up to 5 trillion single use plastic bags are used worldwide every year.”

He added: “The mounting pressure on nature’s resources, dwindling wildlife, rising world population, due to pollution, particularly plastic arising from anthropogenic activities, has made a shift in attitude towards the environment a necessity. The rich ecosystem in Lagos State, which is home to a variety of aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals, are under serious threat due to plastic pollution.”

The Commissioner appealed to Lagosians to slow the flow of plastics at its source, improve the way plastic waste is managed and take responsibility for a sustainable environment.

Chief Philip Asiodu, President, Board of Trustees, NCF in his welcome address stated that this year’s theme was selected primarily to create more awareness about the need for Lagosians to collectively tackle the menace of plastic pollution.

He said: “Most of the plastics are carried through rivers and lagoons and end up in the ocean with over 8 million tons yearly. If we continue at this rate, scientist have predicted that by the year 2050, we could have more plastic in our oceans than fish. Nigeria has been reported as one of the countries that generate high volumes of plastic waste and with the least ability to adequately manage plastic waste. It is currently estimated that Nigeria generates about 2.8 million kg/day of plastic wastes out of which 81% is mismanaged.”

He added: “It is worthy to note that Nigeria in 2013 subscribed to the international ban on single-use plastics but that has not been enforced in Nigeria. I take this opportunity to call on the government to start the enforcement of the ban nationwide.”

In his speech, the Senior Special Assistant on Drainage and Water Resources, Engr. Joe Igokwe appreciated NCF for the continued partnership on environment. He revealed that the administration of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu is set to tackle plastic pollution and other environmental challenges headlong.

Chief Ede Dafinone while giving vote of thanks, emphasised the need to embrace the identified simple solution to the challenge which is ‘reuse, reduce and recycle.’

He acknowledge the support of corporate organisations such as Chevron Nigeria Limited, Fidelity Bank Plc, IHS Towers, Fan Milk Nigeria Plc, Mobile Classroom, Nestle Waters and others

The event was attended by NCF Council Members, representatives of sponsors, students and the media. Relevant government agencies were present to provide support services – these include Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Lagos State Ambulance Service (LASAMBUS), and Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC). The Police, supported by the Lagos Neighbourhood Safety Corps were equallyon ground.

The foremost conservation and biodiversity management organization in Nigeria, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has embarked on building partnership with the South-East state governments, in a bid to spread its activities across the entire country for even and maximum impact.

According to Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, the Director-General of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation. “We have not made significant inroads into the Southeast geopolitical zone of the country over all these years for factors that cannot easily be adduced.”

He added, “The region is bedeviled as many other parts of the country by environmental challenges especially soil and gully erosion, poor drainages and waste management challenges and NCF is willing to partner with the governments and people of the region including the private sector to begin to turnaround the situation.”

It is against this backdrop that Mr. Paddy Ezeala, NCF’s Communication Advisor, led a team to Awka a few days ago to meet with representatives of the Ministry of Environment, Ecology & Beautification, Anambra State Government to discuss common grounds and areas of possible collaboration and partnership. 

The Anambra State Government was represented by Dr. Emmanuel Okafor (Permanent Secretary of the Ministry), Chief Chido Obidiegwu (Managing Director, Clear Drainage & Forest Preservation Agency), and other officials. Mr. Ernest Nwufoh (Programme Director, Biodiversity Preservation Centre), and Mrs. Nkem Agu, Programme Officer of the South-Saharan Social Development Organization (SSDO) also joined the meeting. 

The areas discussed are:

  1. Forest Conservation –The State Government was advised to work with NCF to embrace massive tree plantingin order to fight erosion and reclaim lost forests. This will synchronise with the Federal Government’s plan to plant 25 million trees in the next one year. Anambra State alone can produce 2 million trees because of severity of erosion in the state. 
  2. Environmental Education – NCF is willing to partner the State in introducing environmental education into the school curriculum, establishing conservation clubs and setting up relevant schemes in higher institutions. 
  3. Waste Management – public sensitisation and education should be carried out inorder to help the public understand proper waste management techniques. Recycling of plastic waste would be introduced. Waste Management Advocacy Campaign in Lagos and Ogun States, and South Saharan Social Development Organisation (SSDO) ongoing project were sighted as examples.
  4. Beautification – NCF encourages scientifically designed centres that could be used as ecotourism development projects. 
  5. In-situ Conservation – NCF expressed readiness to partner the State Government to establish conservation centres. This will include the protection of the sacred forests. 
  6. Partnership with local organizations – Activities of Biodiversity Preservation Centre (BPC) should be given more life to as low hanging fruits. Working on Agulu Lake, Maamu River Forest etc. Agulu Lake is said to have the largest crocodile species in West Africa and should be made a crocodile sanctuary.

Dr. Okafor capped the meeting by stating that Anambra State should declare a State of Emergency on environment as he identified current major environmental challenges. “Anambra is losing its land to erosion and is consequently more or less becoming the smallest in Nigeria with regard to landmass”

He noted. “Akpata Forest Reserve has been converted to residential area with a sprawling housing estate springing up. Only five Forest Rangers are available in the entire State and they are now relatively very old people.” 

In the same vein, the NCF team visited Imo State, led by the Director of Technical Programmes, Dr. Joseph Onoja, to discuss with the State Government possible partnership in the area of environmental conservation and sustainable development.

The meeting took place at the Cabinet Office Annex in Owerri, the state capital on Wednesday, 23rd October with a warm reception by the host, Secretary to the State Government, Honourable Uche Onyeagucha.

The SSG promised to further welcome discussions and deliver NCF’s proposals to the State Governor. He mentioned areas of possible collaboration in conservation such as some abandoned forest reserves and streams that could equally serve as ecotourism destinations.

The SSG also drew attention of NCF to some conservation-friendly cultural practices that have saved some species of fauna. “Pythons and some species of monkeys abound in Imo State because some communities don’t eat them” he said. “Conservation projects should be developed and woven around these species.” 

Other officials in the NCF team were Mr. Paddy Ezeala, Communications Advisor; Mr. Oladapo Soneye, Head Communications and Mr. Solomon Adefolu, Climate Change Programme Lead.

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) held its annual teachers training on Friday, 20th September, 2019 at Lekki Conservation Centre with the aim to equip secondary school teachers to teach conservation practices to students, as part of its goal towards the promotion of environmental education across the nation.

The training discussed the activities for the school term and demonstrated how to raise a garden through composting from kitchen food waste.

The facilitator, Mrs. Temitope Okunnu; CEO of FABE International, said that composting is a great way of reducing food waste and contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. “Composting isn’t hard as we’ve been led to believe. Anyone can compost in any location if they understand the basics of the natural process”. She added.

According to her, Waste food materials such as eggshells, banana peels, vegetables, bread, yard waste, coffee grounds, manure from rabbits and chickens are very good for composting. Composting can be done in sacks, cement bags or open pit that is 4ft deep.

She equally talked about the rules guiding composting which include “turning compost from the bottom part to the top part, to ensure adequate ratio of nitrogen to carbon present in the compost.”

Other activities featured were inauguration of new school conservation clubs, grouping of schools into districts, election of coordinators and their assistants and; presentation of gifts to some coordinators for their performance in the previous year.

Outcome of the group deliberations were devising method of using bottle caps for making jewelries, making tables from tyres, planting of trees/flowers, making of Christmas tree, and clean-up activities; promotion of ideas such as Environmental awareness to schools in the locality, regional meetings amongst coordinators, clean-up exercise, waste recycling also raising a school garden using waste materials; and focusing on general clean-up activities, creating awareness on Environmental Education, regular club meetings, community services, club week, environmental awards, membership drive and Environmental beautification.

The training rounded up with participants touring the orchid garden. About fifty teachers participated in the training event.

August 23, 2019

In a bid to commemorate the 30th anniversary of its establishment, Stanbic IBTC planted 30 trees at Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC), the urban jungle in the heart of Lagos that also serves as the headquarters of Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) on 21st August 2019.

The tree planting exercise was led by Dr. Demola Sogunle, the Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Bank, in the company of Mrs Bridget Oyefeso-Odusami, Head Marketing & Communications, Stanbic IBTC, among others.

The species planted were the African Mahogany and Ijebu Mahogany. These two species were chosen because both were hard wood of the same family, ever green and medicinal.

Dr. Sogunle in his speech said that the tree planting exercise was in line with Stanbic IBTC’s value drivers which include being customer centric, employee engagement and being socially, environmentally and economically impactful to the society at large.

The Stanbic IBTC Bank CE assured that Stanbic IBTC would complete the tree planting exercise in the six geo political zones of the country by the end of 2019. He said: “We are planting 30 trees in the six geopolitical zones of the country. This is the fourth tree planting exercise we are engaging in this year.”

Dr. Sogunle stated further: “What Stanbic IBTC is doing also coincides with our 30th anniversary celebration. One of the best ways to celebrate this milestone is to contribute to the environment by the planting of trees to prevent deforestation in the country.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Muhtari Amuni-Kano, Director General of NCF in his statement while reacting to this laudable action said that “I commend what the organization is doing and they have promised to replicate the planting in the six geo-political zones of the country. I hope the public, companies and governments can do more to take to this habit of planting trees in hundreds,’’

He said further that “This is something I will recommend to every Nigerian; to plant trees to commemorate special events in their lives because trees are long lasting and you remember that event whenever you see such trees.If you have an occasion to commemorate whether marriage, the birth of a child, jubilees, any birthday or landmark event, plant trees. The exercise was also witnessed by the Management Staff of NCF and Project Manager of LCC.

July 17, 2019

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) and Total E&P Nigeria Limited, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Environmental Conservation & Biodiversity Management on Friday, 5th July 2019 at Total’s corporate office in Lagos.

The agreement which is an offshoot of Total Group’s Foundation Initiative under Forests & Climate is to better improve and conserve the Nigerian environment.

In his welcome address, Deputy Managing Director, Deep Water District, Total E&P Nigeria Limited, Engr. Ahmadu-Kida Musa appreciated the NCF team and further remarked, “This initiative is what would last throughout our lifetime, more so that Total has a foundation that is interested in the protection of the environment. We will ensure our footprint is visible so that our environment is conserved for us and our children.”

In his remark, Member, NCF Board of Trustee, Alhaji Ahmed Joda stated “I love the environment and that is why I am part of NCF to protect our inheritance. I am happy that Total is in this relationship with us and I look forward to more than three years partnership.”

The 3-year MoU subject to extension has a framework that covers the adaptation of a Conservation center in Nigeria, Afforestation, Biodiversity Management, Forest Elephant Alive Campaign, Green Recovery Nigeria Initiative among others. The partnership has the potential of reducing Total’s Carbon Footprint in the country.

NCF Council member, Dame Marie Fatayi-Williams; Director General of NCF, Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano and a management staff, Mr. Ayodele Alamu, witnessed the signing while Executive Director, Deep Water District, Joel Hervochon; Executive General Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility, Engr. Vincent Nnadi; EGM Operations Support Services, Mr. Alex Aghedo; GM Legal Services, Barr. Yakubu Belgore; GM HSE at the district, Mr. Ajukwura Wokomah were also among Total’s senior management that witnessed the event.

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), the Civil Society Network for the Lake Chad Basin (North East Nigeria), the Humanitarian Forum, UK with the support of the International Islamic Charity Organisation (IICO) call on Nigeria and Nigerians to rise and tackle natural disaster and climate change challenge in the nation as an urgent human issue adversely affecting the people especially North East Nigeria.

This call was made at the opening ceremony of a 2-day workshop held in Abuja on 26th & 27th August, 2019 with the theme “Resilience Agenda: Natural Disasters and Climate Change – How are we managing risks and crises differently in North East Nigeria?”

Twenty-one Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from the six states in North East Nigeria, representatives of Government agencies, UN agencies, international NGOs, security agencies and the media gathered at the workshop to take stock of how climate change is being addressed as a risk factor for disasters, what adaptation measures are being implemented, action-oriented discussion to formulate concrete practical steps to overcome challenges and make a difference to people affected by crisis.

The workshop is also expected to identify concrete areas in which NCF and other groups could collaborate to address Disaster Risk Reduction and build the resilience of communities in the zone.

The outcome of the workshop will feed into discussions at the World Humanitarian Action Forum (WHAF) 2019. WHAF is a project that aims to enhance partnership and collaboration among humanitarian actors from the global North and South and to share effective humanitarian practices and responses that affect local, national and international NGOs.

Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, Director General of NCF in his remark stated that “Climate change and environmental degradation are at the root of the humanitarian crises in the north-east, such as shrinking of the Lake Chad, drought and desertification, deforestation and land degradation. The consequences of the crises also have heavy consequences for climate change and natural resources in the region. These make natural areas as bases and battlefronts, and the concentration of populations in a few areas.”

Dr. Hany El-Banna, President of the Humanitarian Forum, UK said that “For us to achieve substantive success in the fight against natural disaster and climate change, we must embrace progress through partnership.”

Meanwhile, Ambassador Shehu Ahmed, President of Civil Society Network for the Lake Chad Basin emphasized that the Federal Government, International organisations and corporate citizens should rise to help now. He said “Disasters and climate change impact on lives, livelihoods and economic development. People living in poor and developing countries bear the highest risk for disaster. Impacts of disasters and climate change set back and undermine development efforts. Climate change is causing an increase in frequency and intensity of certain weather-related disaster events. These are some of the reasons we should take action immediately.” Alhaji Abdulwasea Adesina, Country Director of IICO made an appeal to the participants not to end the discussion at the workshop and also to chart smart path to implement all the proposals from different relevant quarters.