An environmental education researcher, Dr Julianah Oduwaiye, has described environmental education as being crucial to protecting Mother Earth and should be embedded in all disciplines. She also asked the Federal Ministry of Environment to ensure that environmental laws against gas flaring, public smoking among others, are complied with.
Dr Oduwaiye spoke with Nigerian Tribune after the inaugural lecture she delivered at the Federal College of Education, Abeokuta, Ogun State, with the title, “Environmental Crisis in Nigeria and the Need for Effective Environmental Education”, which she described as being crucial to protecting Mother Earth.
She noted that “Gas flaring has been declared as illegal in Nigeria since 31st December, 1984 given under section 3 of the Associated Gas Reinjection Act of 1979 of Nigeria. In November 2005, a judgment by the Federal High Court, Nigeria also ordered that gas flaring should stop in a Nigeria Delta community as it violates guaranteed constitutional rights to life and dignity. Surprisingly, up till 2018, gas flaring has continued in that region mainly because of the inability of the government to enforce compliance.
“Public smoking has also been banned, but it continues till today. The Ministry is weak in enforcement and people have not been educated.”
She also referred to flaws taking place at the state level, mentioning the recent flooding in Ogun State.
“See what happened on July 13. People have been blocking the drainage with refuse and the Ministry of Environment did not do anything until that flood came and swept away people and properties.”
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In her lecture, Dr Oduwaiye recommended that “Environmental education (including moral education) content should be infused into all subjects at all levels of education.
“The National Commission for Colleges of Education should take this into consideration in the ongoing curriculum review. Environmental education objectives should be clearly stated in each subject curriculum. There should be training workshop on the implementation of the new curriculum which could be at the geopolitical level, laying emphasis on the main objectives of intervention courses in the programme. Such courses include environmental education, population education and family life education.
“All agencies having mandate on environmental matters should play more active roles in creating awareness among the citizens on issues of environmental concern.
“There should be strong advocacy to create awareness among our people on the need to be eco-friendly.
“Participatory activities at the community level should be put in place. I wish to recommend here that each community should have an environmental committee in place. The committee can always liaise with the Ministry of Environment or Environmental Office at the local government level for training and sensitisation programmes.
“The Public Health Officers/Inspectors can explore this as an avenue to reach out to the community. The office can come up with what a model community should be and work with the communities to transform them to become a model community.
“It is germane to conclude that environmental education is crucial and should be embedded in all disciplines, so that we can all protect the mother earth which will outlive every generation.”