Nnimmo Bassey: A great friend of the earth -Osinbajo
Environmentalist and pro-democracy crusader, Arc Nnimmo Bassey has been lauded as “a great friend of the earth and global brand.”
This was the verdict of the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril while representing the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday, at the Nnimmo Bassey National Colloquium, marking the 60th birthday of the environmentalist in Abuja.
“We thank you Nnimmo and pray for more years for you. Nnimmo, you are a great friend of the earth.”
The event, themed; Environmental conflicts and the quest for national identity rallied members of the civil society and human rights crusaders for a clamour to seek national identity in addressing environmental conflicts.
He called on non governmental organisations (NGOs) to follow and criticize government constitutionally to show where it was going wrong.
The Minister pledged continued support for the Ogoni people and the Niger Delta geopolitical zone, saying: “We won’t let the Ogoni and the Niger Delta people down. We need to do this for the sake of our nation.”
Dr Hussaini Abdu, country director of PLAN, who delivered the keynote address at the event lamented that many conflicts in the nation would not have escalated should other sections of the country embrace them at gestation stage as national problems.
He is equally worried that environmental conflicts do not express themselves alone but often assume ethnic, religious and other identities; saying these usually become real problems when others fail to identify with the problems of others.
Abdu cautioned against deployment of military as solution to conflicts; “We often build military solutions for quick resolution which often worsen the situation; this I guess due to long reign of military reign.
He remarked that that there was “nothing wrong with Nigeria’s diversity but everything was wrong with the management of our diversity.”
The civil society expert reminded that to address various identity challenges confronting the nation, “A nation as divided as Nigeria need certain constitutional backing to guarantee sense of belonging of all ethnic nationalities.
He called for response to the nation’s lopsided structure without which clamour for national identity may not be guaranteed.