Gov. Hope Uzodinma of Imo said the state government will review extant laws on wildlife and conservation to mitigate excessive degradation of natural habitat.
Uzodinma disclosed this on Tuesday in Owerri as Imo played host to the 2020 World Wildlife Day with the Theme “Sustaining all life on earth”.
The governor said the extant law review would also include the Eastern Nigerian laws, national and international laws basically on trade of endangered species.
He said the need to review the laws became necessary following reckless abuse and degradation of both animals and plants, thereby causing some of the animal species to go on extinction.
He said, “The 7th edition of world wildlife celebration presents everybody with the cogent challenge on a sober soul search on how we have related or destroyed nature in our lifetime.
“We are all guilty of not doing enough in preserving our natural habitat,” he said.
Uzodinma said relentless mining activities, uncontrolled logging and fuel wood exploration among others are the major habitat degradation currently practised in the society.
He maintained that the solution to the problem was to review the laws and hold culprits responsible for any offence.
The governor further said his government would invest heavily to upgrade Imo state zoo and Wildlife Park to international standard.
While assuring that he will put machinery in place to enforce all wildlife laws, the governor said lands belonging to the zoo, but illegally acquired by land grabbers would be reclaimed.
“I will ensure immediate recovery of all designated federal forest reserves in the state and also put a stop to further encroachment,” he said.
The Director General of Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Dr Muhtari Amino-Kana in his address, said environmental integrity was being threatened whenever the environment was subjected to human induced vagaries.
He said between 2011 and 2018, Imo state lost 13 per cent of its natural forest cover.
He said the main culprit to nature degradation was the human, but advised that activities of habitat laws violation could affect human existence.
According to him, Imo state zoo ranks among the best for plants and animal conservation.
Speaking on the Theme “Sustaining all life on earth” Amino-kano appealed to general public to always respect the nature and never to engage in activities that could lead to degradation of natural habitat.
“If the vultures could suddenly disappear from our environment, then you could believe that other species could also disappear, so we should be mindful of our attitudes to nature.
He commended Gov. Uzodinma for his support for the environment adding that such support was an indication of good governance.
The General Manager of Imo Zoo and Wildlife Park, Mr Francis Abioye said the essence of the campaign was to sensitize the public on the need to preserve nature.
He said ignorance and lack of awareness was the major cause of nature degradation, but believed that continued sensitization against violation of nature laws would help to save the society. (NAN)