Environmental degradation has been identified as a major factor that constitutes a real and significant security risk of national and international proportion.
There is the need therefore for a paradigm shift in the assessment of Implications from environmental degradation and the need for conservation to ensure a robust and encompass national security and need for redress.
These were the words of conservationists in Lagos at the 11th Chief S.L. Edu Memorial Lecture organised by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation with the support from Chevron Nigerian Limited.
In her Lecture titled “Addressing Environment and Conservation: A development and National Security Imperatives”, the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations, Professor Joy Ogwu argued that the impact of the environment, including biological diversity, climate change and desertification, encompasses global warming, land degradation, deforestation, and loss of vital resources such as land, agriculture and water which support life, livelihood, lifestyle, housing and more. These dimensions of the environment in our times have become the sources of increasing threats to national security.
According to the guest lecturer, “It is common knowledge that since the beginning of time, we have witnessed to a considerable dependence on the Earth’s resources for humanity’s increasing need for sustenance and survival. The exploitation of mother earth for food, timber for housing and energy for production, power and transportation has led to national development success. Indeed, it can be argued that the prestige and security of a nation-state have flowed from exploitation of these assets”.
“The security of nations in the 21st century will increasingly depend on the security of natural resources. The modern global economy depends on access to such resources as energy, minerals, potable water, and arable land to meet the rising expectations of a growing population, which by no means assured”.
“As the demand land increases and there is continued to decrease in arable and grazing land, there is forced migrations of people towards the South, with increasing violence and conflicts over land rights which are sometimes misinterpreted as ethnic and communal clashes in Nigeria”.
Earlier, the Chairman of the occasion, Chief Philip Asiodu called for joint effort to tackle environmental challenges facing Nigeria.
Nigeria is no doubt presently facing serious climate change induced environmental challenges like flooding, sea level rise, biodiversity loss, soil erosion and others. The ill effects of these climatic changes are evident and this makes it imperative for all of us to seek solutions to these challenges. This forum therefore affords us yet another opportunity to look at the problems from a new perspective in the hope that the attempt will provide fresh solutions to mitigate the negative impact on the people and the economy.