As the world gears towards this year’s World Environmental Day on June 5, Nigerians have been urged to be more proactive in matters relating to environmental and wildlife preservation so as to maximize the potentials of the sector. This plea was made recently by Nela Duke, the Chief Executive Officer of Obudu Conservation Centre, while speaking about the state of environmental preservation in the country.

Duke’s call is coming as several global bodies continue to highlight Nigeria’s seeming disinterest in matters relating to sustainable environmental practices. Water Aid, an international charity body focused on improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation recently ranked the country third on the list of countries still practicing open defecation. The United States Environmental Protection Agency also declared Nigeria the second biggest emitter of methane – a potent greenhouse gas capable of damaging the climate when released during natural gas production and distribution.

“We need to start taking issues about our environment seriously. Over the years, Nigeria has been saddled with lots of environmental issues including deforestation, desertification, and pollution, all of which can be attributed to the nonchalant way we relate with the environment,” Duke said.

“There is a need for us to understand implications of these actions and subjects like climate change, global warming and more importantly, show support to organisations and bodies making efforts to right these wrongs,” she added.

The Obudu Conservation Centre was set up in 2002, and has since been actively involved in wildlife education, community management, tourism, and research.