“We may need to consult the oracles and possibly appease the land before the colour of the land changes to red. If we wait for that to happen, the name Nigeria will probably change and a good part of the continent will change as well.”
These were the words of Newton Jibunoh, the founder of Fight Against Desert Encroachment, a non-governmental organisation and first Black Managing Director of Costain West Africa, in a statement made available to Financial Street on Monday.
In the statement entitled With Time, Colours Have Changed All Over And Everywhere, the environmentalist insisted that “the change in the colours must start now, as the land from which Nigerians eat from and stand on, is changing rapidly and making it difficult for its nationals to compete and carry out the catching up game,” due to abuse and degradation.
According to the Desert Warrior, as he is popularly called, the answer to the abuse and degradation lies in a conversation Nigerians must all have with themselves before engaging in any major development, based on coping or trying to catch up with the developed world.
His words, “We must change the colours of the land, the forest, the seas and the ocean, by reforestation, curbing deforestation and desert encroachment, cleaning up our beaches, clearing our drainages and canals, addressing vehicular and noise pollution; just some of the things we can do to give back to the environment that we have plundered.
“The effect of only building estates and different infrastructure, without curing our environment over the century, is that we have started many new developments on a catching up basis, but remained underdeveloped, while those countries and continents that started development after us have come out of underdevelopment, to become a global hub and have emerged.”
For more than 50 years, Jibunoh disclosed, the country has not been able to come out of underdevelopment and the few landmark projects that were designed to lay the foundation for industrialsation have been mismanaged.
Though many of his environmental write-ups and lectures are said to have fallen on deaf ears, he assured that he was not going to give up on Nigeria.
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