IUCN extends a warm welcome to the Government of Nigeria, which has officially announced its decision to become a Member of IUCN by endorsing the IUCN Statutes. The Federal Ministry of Environment has been designated by the Government of Nigeria as its liaison with the IUCN Secretariat.
Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world, has one of the most developed economies in Africa with robust financial, communication and transport sectors. Located in West Africa, Nigeria shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in the north. Its coast in the south lies on the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean. Nigeria is a federal constitutional Republic comprising 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Commenting on Nigeria’s admission, IUCN Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Aimé J. Nianogo, said: “This will strengthen the environmental coalition in the sub region and facilitate our partnership and work in Nigeria, which, in spite of the extra large country’s size and the socio-economic challenges, has managed to conserve significant portions of biodiversity areas, including several national parks”.
Nigeria is also home to a wealth of biodiversity, counting 4,715 different types of plant species and over 550 species of breeding birds and mammals. In 1991, the Government of Nigeria established six national parks, including the Cross River National Park, which serves to protect Nigeria’s last sizeable remaining area of rainforest. This park is particularly important because it is one of the most species rich in Africa. In addition to the huge diversity of plant life, the park is home to many endangered animal species such as the cross-river gorillas, leopards, chimpanzees, forest elephants and drill monkeys.
Also reacting to Nigeria’s admission, the Honourable Hadiza Ibrahim Mailafa, Minister for Environment, noted that “the issues and concerns of environmental sustainability have become enormous and the government alone can’t bear this. To ensure the integrity of the Nigerian environment and achievement of sustainable development, the Federal Ministry of Environment will work together with stakeholders, such as IUCN, to tackle the various environmental challenges the country is facing”.
The petroleum industry is central to Nigeria’s economic profile and it is the twelfth largest producer of petroleum products in the world. Following extensive consultations with its Members and other stakeholders in Nigeria, IUCN has supported the establishment of an Independent Advisory Panel to provide scientific recommendations to the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC), and help restore the biodiversity of its oil spill sites in the Niger Delta. The panel is composed of leading international and local experts. It will collect ecological information on the sites that have been affected by oil spills and will also encourage the involvement of local communities and civil society groups in its activities.
Nigeria is also home to four non-governmental Members of IUCN: the Nigeria Conservation Foundation, the Nigeria Environmental Study Team, Savannah Conservation Nigeria and the Centre for Environmental Resources and Sustainable Ecosystems. The IUCN West and Central Africa Programme has a project office situated in Kano, Kano State, since 2005 and actively supports local government and civil society in the northern part of the country in various nature conservation fields, such as water and wetlands conservation and environmental education. The project office also collaborates strongly with the Government of Nigeria through its Ministry responsible for water resources.
Contact person: Mrs Monique C. Yigbedek Bisseck, Senior Constituency Support & Development for Central and West Africa, P.O. Box 5506 Yaoundé – Cameroon, Phone. +237 22 21 64 96, Fax. +237 22 21 64 97, Email : [email protected]