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Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat has advocated the need for a behavioural change and paradigm shift to enable Nigeria rescue and preserve its environment for the future.

Speaking yesterday at the 18th Chief S.L Edu Memorial Lecture in Victoria Island, Lagos, the Deputy Governor stressed the need for citizens to change their orientation on the way they handle the environment.

According to the Deputy Governor, “We must decide as people how we want to live our lives. But it is the intention of this government to lead the conversation. Some of it might be tough. So as fathers and mothers, we must decide to leave society better than we met it for the good of our children. If not, we have done a total disservice to them. Therefore, things must change”.

“The reality is that we need a paradigm shift. If you get to Lagos Island in the morning, you will see a lot of open defecation. It is something that is not acceptable. The essence is that every one of us must now accept that it is wrong”, he added.

Speaking further, the Deputy Governorrestated the present administration’s commitment to protect and sustain the environment and make it livable for all.

Commenting on the theme of the lecture, “The Role of Traditional Leaders in Protecting and Restoring the Nigerian Environment”, he averred that the various environmental challenges facing the world today, ranging from population explosion, drought, erosion and flood requires the attention of everyone to act promptly to save the environment from the looming danger.

Dr. Hamzat said “it is not only the role of our traditional leaders alone but all of us. Our Imams must now be preaching it on Fridays in their sermons, our Pastors must also preach it on Sundays on how to keep the environment safe. We must talk about what affects us if not, the world will just collapse on us. People are dying because of the environmental catastrophe that is man-made. So, it is now left for us to do the right thing”.

While commending the Nigerian Conservation Foundation for the initiative, the Deputy Governor stated that the government would continue to collaborate with the foundation in the fight to save the environment, while imploring that Lagosians should come ideas that will assist in policy formulation.

In his paper, the Guest Speaker, the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar berated the neglect of the environment by all, saying it has brought about degradation over the years as well as looming dangers that need to be addressed promptly. 

“This is a very serious and disturbing situation that requires serious attention”. Abubakar said.

He, therefore, called on the government to collaborate with the traditional and religious leaders in enlightening and sensitising the citizens on the dangers of not taking good care of their environment since they have much influence on their subjects.

The Sultan advised the government to ensure the domestication of international treaties and pacts on the environment in order to bring the indigenes on board in all efforts to fight climate change. 

Earlier in his remarks, President, Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Chief Izoma Philip Asiodu described the theme of the lecture as apt and very timely, observing that the country is challenged in every aspect of the environment namely population explosion; desertification; erosion; poor management of wastes; and deforestation, among others.

He emphasised the important role of the traditional rulers in sensitising and educating the citizens on the dangers of fallen trees, deforestation, bush burning and other hazardous factors of the eco-system and the need to sustain the environment. 

Chief Asiodu, while pointing out the looming danger, stated that there is an urgent need to create national awareness and mobilise the people to act and save the environment.

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