Nigeria’s oil industry commits to wildlife conservation

Titilayo Ipinjolu, Abuja

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says it will reduce the impact of its oil exploration and exploitation on the environment as a means of preserving and conserving wildlife resources.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, made this commitment during the World Environment Day (WED) stating that this will demonstrate Nigeria’s oil sector support for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on best environmental management practices.
Represented by the Chief Operating Officer, Corporate Services, Mr. Isa Inuwa, Dr. Kachikwu noted that as part of the Corporation’s determination to conserve wildlife, it had set up the Lekki Conservation Center with the support of Chevron Nigeria Limited and Finima Nature Park in Bonny with the support of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Ltd (NLNG).
Adding that ‘the Federal Government has recognized the importance of wildlife resources and demonstrated its commitment to its preservation by establishing National Parks and Game Reserves for the protection and preservation of wildlife and their natural habitats.’
According to him, stopping illegal trade in wildlife would ensure the preservation of useful species; conservation of wildlife for education and research; protection of the fauna and flora resources from over exploitation for medicine and other economic products as well as an expansion of tourism. 
“The population of Nigeria wildlife is still evolving and growing and hopefully will be adequately managed to provide same benefit like those of other nations of Africa’ he stated.
‘The diversity of Nigeria wildlife has been ranked eleventh in Africa by Nigerian Environmental Action Study Team (NEST) with South and East African countries leading the pack in the African continent”, Dr. Kachikwu posited.
He urged every staff of the Corporation to support wildlife preservation and conservation in Nigeria for sustainable environment stressing that the safety of these endangered species form the success of the NNPC’.
On his part, Mr. Inuwa said that though the practice of illegal wildlife trade was not common in Nigeria, the business of oil exploration and exploitation affects the environment where such creatures occupy.
He laid emphasis on the need for concerted efforts to safeguard the environment and wildlife from devastation.
Delivering a goodwill message, the General Manager, Group Health, Safety and Environment Department, Mr. Maduebo Mbakwe said the significance of World Environmental Day (WED) is to galvanize individual and collective power for positive impact on the planet.
He called for sustainable measures to ensure that the NNPC business activities do not impact negatively on the environment and wildlife.
Presenting a technical paper on the impact of Oil and Gas activities on conservation of wildlife in Nigeria, the Guest Speaker, Barr. Millicent Ele said the activities of the industry impact negatively on wildlife and called on operators to adopt best practices in order to preserve the fauna and flora for wildlife habitat.
She suggested strict enforcement of environmental regulations for Oil Companies to operate in line with best practices.
The 2016 World Environment Day was celebrated with the theme: “Illegal Trade in Wildlife” and NNPC adopted the slogan “Let’s Go Wild for Life”.
The World Environment Day started in 1972 by UNEP and it is commemorated June 5th of every year.