The Minister of State for Environment, Dr Ishaq Salako, has asked the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) to assist the Federal Government in sensitizing and reorientating the citizens on sustainable use of the environment.
Salako noted that the country was currently facing a lot of environmental challenges, including deforestation, desert encroachment, land degradation, flood, gully erosion and climate change, adding that urgent measures must be taken to reverse the ugly trend.
Addressing a delegation of the Ogun State Chapter of NIPR who paid him a courtesy visit at the weekend in Abuja, the minister said the sustainable use of the environment is “number one priority” of the administration of President Bola Tinubu.
According to him, the incumbent administration envisioned a country where the sustainable use of the environment becomes obligatory civic duty.
Salako observed that most of the abuse of the environment in the country was due to ignorance.
He, however, urged public relations professionals to help the government in carrying out adequate sensitization of the citizenry, especially on proper waste disposal.
His words, “Environment is livelihood; without environment, there cannot be survival. So, for Mr President, the sustainable use of the Nigerian environment is number one priority because the environment is a gift from God and if we did not use it well, God will be unhappy with us.”
“The mandate of the Federal Ministry of Environment is multifaceted. But one of the key mandates that we have is to ensure the use of the environment for the health and well-being of human beings, plants and animals on earth and we are determined to do that.”
“So, the NIPR will also have a very important role to play because research has shown that most of the abuse of the environment is due to ignorance and if we do a lot of sensitization and education, things will be better. We need to educate our people to know that if we do not pay for proper disposal of the waste, it will eventually become a burden on the environment which would also affect everyone.”
“We also believe that there are some aspects of sustainable environmental use that must become obligatory civic duties. Just like you pay tax which is obligatory; all of us know that if you don’t pay tax, it’s a crime. The use of the environment and the sustainable use of it must become obligatory civic duties. It’s not that if you don’t use it you will go to jail, but you can be fined and if you use it well, you can also be rewarded.”
“Our vision is to carve out this kind of arrangement, using laws, using regulations to ensure that people take the issue of environment very seriously and know that it’s their civic responsibility to ensure that the environment is kept well. So, I’m going to count on you to assist us, to project the vision of the Ministry and to educate our people that environment is critical to their life and survival.”
The minister restated the commitment of the Federal Government to forestalling a situation where Nigeria will become one of the top ten nations in disaster-driven poverty.
Earlier in her remarks, the Chairperson of Ogun NIPR, Mrs Oluwaseun Boye, congratulated the minister on his recent appointment and assured him of unflinching support and collaboration in executing various programmes to safeguard the nation’s environment.
She also promised that the Institute would deploy the tools at its disposal to project the activities of the Federal Ministry of Environment in ensuring sustainable development in the country.
Boye expressed confidence in the capacity and competence of the Minister to deliver on his mandate, saying she believed he would replicate his achievements at different times as commissioner in Ogun State at the national level.