By Ikechukwu Odu
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, Prof Charles Igwe, yesterday, said that indiscriminate cutting of trees would further degrade our environment and make it more hazardous for human habitation.

The Vice Chancellor who blamed ozone depletion, soil erosion, extreme heat conditions and other harsh climate changes on the activities of human beings on the environment, added that the increasing cases of flooding across the globe is also a direct effect of environmental degradation.

He made the call when the Resource and Environmental Policy Research Centre, REPRC, UNN/Environment for Development, EfD Initiative, Nigeria, paid him a courtesy visit to intimate him on media workshop organised by the Centre for environmental reporters.

“Environmental issues are often being neglected, especially, in 3rd world countries. If you look at our environment in South East, Nigeria, you will discover that we in an era when uninformed people will call you names for planting trees around your residential buildings, not knowing that these trees are needed for our respiratory processes.

“I want to congratulate your Centre for delving into researches to save our environment, especially, now that we have devastating effects of soil erosion, flooding and other harsh climatic changes. I want to urge you to do more in creating the awareness because most of the environmental challenges are caused by our actions due to ignorance,” explained.

The Director, REPRC-EfD Nigeria, Dr. Nnaemeka Chukwuone, while addressing the VC, said the Centre in UNN would build the capacity and conduct research and advocacy on environment, agriculture, natural resources, climate and other related issues in order to facilitate and support evidence-based policy-making, policy implementation and ensure policy effectiveness for poverty reduction and sustainable development.

He also said that the Centre would create a forum for agenda-setting in critical resource and environmental policy issues in Nigeria through collaborative engagement with academics, policy makers and civil organisations.

He also said that the Centre would share research results, support, host and participate in academic events and engage in Policy dialogue with the government and other stakeholders to facilitate implementation of relevant environmental and development policies.

While discussing the topic ‘Environmental Issues in Nigeria and the Role of Journalists in Dealing with the Challenges,’ the Chairman of the Policy Advisory Panel, REPRC-EFD, Prof Emmanuel Ladipo, said the media must develop a strategic communication strategy to help mitigate the effects of environmental degradation.

He also enjoined journalists to ensure that laws on environmental protection are reported and followed to facilitate adequate implementation, adding that it is the responsibility of the journalist to ensure that the laws are equally complied with through focused and sustained reportage.

He also tasked the media on investigative reporting, insisting that the journalist must have adequate information before he could inform the audience adequately and objectively.

The don also said that if a nation’s environmental foundations are depleted, its economy may decline. He also said that depletion of the environment may lead to deterioration of a nation’s social fabric and destabilization of its political structure.

Earlier at the workshop, the EfD’s Web Editor, Petra Hansson took journalists on how to access EfD’s research publications.

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