The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Obafemi Hamzat, has called for behavioural change and paradigm shift in the state to rescue and preserve its environment for the future.
Hamzat made the assertion at the 18th Chief S.L Edu Memorial Lecture organised by the Nigerian Conservative Foundation (NCF) held at Victoria Island, Lagos on Friday.
The lecture was entitled: “The Role of Traditional Leaders in Protecting and Restoring the Nigerian Environment.”
The deputy governor said that the state government would not rest on its oars in protecting the environment to make it liveable for all.
He said that it would come up with policies to address pressing environmental challenges in the state.
Hamzat stressed the need for citizens to change their orientation on the way they handled the environment.
“We must decide as people how we want to live our lives. But, it is the intention of this government to lead the conversation.
“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 said.
Hamzat restated the administration’s commitment to protecting and sustaining the environment to make it liveable for all.
The deputy governor listed some of the various environmental challenges facing the world today, ranging from population explosion, drought, erosion, flood, while drawing the attention of all to the need to act promptly to save the environment from looming danger.
According to Hamzat, it is not only the role of traditional leaders alone but everyone.
“Our Imams must now be preaching it on Fridays in their sermons, our Pastors and Priests must also preach it on Sundays. There should be sermons on how to keep the environment safe.
“We must talk about what affects us if not, the world will just collapse on us and that is the truth.
“People are dying because of the environmental catastrophes that are man-made. So, it is for us to do the right thing,” he said.
Hamzat commended the Nigerian Conservation Foundation for the initiative, adding that the state government would continue to collaborate with the foundation in the fight to save the environment.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar, who spoke as the Guest Lecturer, condemned the neglect of the environment by all, saying that it had brought about degradation over the years.
Abubakar said that there were looming dangers if necessary steps were not taken on time.
According to him, this is a very serious and disturbing situation that requires serious attention.
He called on the governments to collaborate with the traditional and religious leaders in enlightening and sensitising citizens on the dangers of not taking good care of their environment.
The sultan said that the government should ensure it domesticated most of the international treaties and pacts on the environment in order to get the understanding and bring on board the indigenes in all efforts to fight climate change.
Earlier, President of the foundation, Chief Izoma Asiodu described the theme of the lecture as apt and very timely.
Asiodu noted that the country was facing challenges in every aspect of the environment including, population explosion, desertification, erosion, poor management of wastes and deforestation, among others.
He stressed the important role of traditional rulers in sensitising and educating citizens on the danger of falling trees, deforestation, bush burning and other hazardous factors of the eco-system and the need to sustain the environment.
Asiodu, while noting the looming dangers, said that there was an urgent need to create national awareness and mobilise people to act and save the environment.