Ex-Nigerian Envoy blames global disease on environmental factors

Tunde Akanbi ,Ilorin

A former Nigerian Ambassador to Australia, Ayo Olukanni, says a quarter of the global disease burden today is caused by environmental factors.

According to him, 7 million people die annually as a result of air pollution.

The ex-envoy who is also the Vice Chairman of Environment NGO, Fight Against Desert Encroachment, FADE, disclosed this in Ilorin the Kwara State capital North Central Nigeria while speaking at a symposium organised by the American Chemical Society, ACS, Nigeria International Chemical Sciences Chapter held at the University of Ilorin.

While seeking synergy between stakeholders particularly the manufacturers and distributors of chemicals and Chemical products and agricultural workers, Olukanni added that “further research also revealed that 500,000 people perish from exposure to chemicals, these developments are indeed a great cause for concern.”

According to him, “A look around our homes and visit to our markets show our pervasive, and unfortunately cavalier approach to use of chemicals. Closed chemical factories are spread all over Nigeria; the African Stockplie project identifies Nigeria as one of the countries with the greatest expired abandoned chemicals stockpile consisting of pesticides and agro-chemicals.

“And It is the strongly believed today that the scourge of cancer being experienced in Nigeria is partly a result of the misuse of chemicals and chemical products and hazardous and electronic wastes. For an appreciation of the problem we are facing please visit the chemicals market across our nation where they are sold and dispensed without due regard to safety, instruction or direction for use and their application.”

While proffering solutions to the lingering problems in the world of chemistry, the ex-envoy advocated for closer Collaboration between the Chemical Society of Nigeria, CSN, and the Chemicals Division of the Federal Ministry of Environment.

“Identification of abandoned factories and Chemical dump sites across the countries for possible remediation work possibly within the framework of the SIACM, as well as inclusion of the SAICM in the curriculum of Students of Chemistry in our Universities will further broaden the scope of the next generation of Chemists on whose shoulder will rest the responsibility of continuing with chemical safety as envisioned under the SAICM”,he added.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Nigeria International Chemical Sciences Chapter, Professor Joshua Obaleye, urged varsity lecturers to always domesticate the numerous ideas gathered abroad for the growth and benefit of the nation.

The don who is also at the department of chemistry, University of Ilorin, commended the Chemical Society of Nigeria, CSN, for its efforts and acceptance towards ensuring that the American Chemical Society approved its chapter in Nigeria stressing that the foreign body will no doubt support Nigeria with numerous tools for innovative.