‘Nigeria wetlands rich in biodiversity, stands out in Africa’
Minister of State for Environment, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor
The Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, has said that Nigeria’s wetlands are rich in biodiversity and stand out on the continent of Africa, playing key functions such as water purification, water storage, processing of carbon and other nutrients.
Ikeazor, who was celebrating 2022 Wetlands Day in Hadejia in Jigawa State, explained that under an effective and sustainably managed healthy ecosystem, they have a vital role in addressing socio-economic challenges by creating millions of jobs in sectors such as forestry, fisheries, agriculture and tourism.
She declared: Nigeria is one of the internationally recognised wetlands in the world. The majority of these wetlands are found in Niger Delta, Benue and Chad Basin and along the entire coast of Nigeria. Eleven (11) of them have been designated as Ramsar Sites.The Hadejia-Nguru is situated in Jigawa and Yobe States.
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The minister equally said coastal and inland wetlands are popular locations for tourism and recreational activities such as swimming, boating, fishing, camping, annual festivals and bird watching, offering income opportunities for local communities, saying their water flows regulation and recharge of surface and groundwater.
Ikeazor regretted that ecosystems are being threatened due to population pressure, poverty, deforestation, intensive cultivation, oil, gas and industrial waste pollution, coastal and marine erosion; overgrazing as well as climate change, saying, the component is being lost at an alarming rate and the need for urgent intervention.
“Under the ongoing intervention named ’’Sustainable Management of Selected Critical Ecosystems,’’Hadejia-Nguru Wetland was reforested with four hectares of fruit/tree Orchard of economic species and in addition to the provision of livelihood and capacity development of the communities around the wetland,” she remarked.
The minister commended Governor Muhammad Abubakar of Jigawa State for playing host to this years’ celebration, adding that the resources attributed to the wetlands in Nigeria were highly valuable and they contain fish, reptile species, mammal species, amphibian species and bird’s species.