The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) a non-governmental (NGO) with special focus on nature conservation and sustainable development in Nigeria, has called on the government to address economic challenges in order to lift people out of poverty.
Poverty, it said, has been identified as the leading cause of the country’s environmental degradation.
The NCF said citizens’ yearnings and the search for essentials such as food, shelter and infrastructure are driving the population to use the country’s resources in various unsustainable ways and identified others to include desertification, urbanisation, increasing population, deforestation and land degradation.
Speaking at the final of the 2022 Art and Essay Competition organised by the NCF in Lagos, the foundation’s Nature Conservation Officer and Head of Environmental Education Unit, Adedamola Ogotuta, said efforts by government and other bodies to ensure that the environment is judiciously maintained and sustained will remain a mirage except government addresses poverty in the land while also ensuring that those who violates environmental laws are brought to justice.
Adedamola said the annual event is put together to drive home the messages of conversation of the environment among primary and secondary school students across Nigeria, affirming that they are the change and future custodians of the environment.
She said the foundation received over a thousand entries for this year’s theme: “Only One Earth” from across Nigeria and affirming that it is an indication of the seriousness the younger generation are paying to the state of the environment.
She stated that: “One of the reasons why people are not using the earth’s resources sustainably is poverty because when you tell people not to destroy the forest they will tell you where else can we get our means of livelihood. The NCF is providing alternatives, the other is greed whereby we use these resources in an unsustainable way.”