Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova

By Ijeoma Olorunfemi

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has approved three additional biosphere reserves in Nigeria.

Nigeria initially had only one biosphere reserve, the Omo Biosphere Reserve in Ogun which was established in 1977.

Dr Moma Enang, National Professional Officer, Natural Science Sector, UNESCO Regional Office, Abuja said the approval was granted through the Man and the Biosphere Programme International Co-ordinating Council (MAB-ICC) of the organisation.

Enang named the reserves as Oban Biosphere Reserve and Okwango Biosphere Reserves, both in Cross River and the Hadejia-Nguru-Bade Biosphere Reserve cutting across Yobe and Jigawa.

She expressed delight over the development, saying that the additional reserves will foster efforts to ensure biodiversity in the country.

“UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office in Abuja, within its regular science workplan, facilitated the nomination and proposed two biosphere reserves, namely Oban Biosphere Reserve and Okwango Biosphere Reserve, both in Cross River.

“In another vein and within the framework of Biosphere and Heritage of Lake Chad (BIOPALT)project implemented in five countries of Lake Chad Basin, UNESCO again facilitated the nomination of Hadejia-Nguru-Bade Biosphere Reserve in Yobe and Jigawa.

“The nomination for the three proposed Biosphere Reserves were submitted by the Nigerian Man and Biosphere (MAB) Committee domicile in the Forestry Institute of Nigeria.

“During the 32nd session of MAB-ICC from Oct. 27 to Oct.28, the three Biosphere Reserves were approved for Nigeria,” she said.