BEING KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, ENGR. ABDULLAHI A. SULE, EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF NASARAWA STATE, REPRESENTED BY HON. KWANTA YAKUBU, COMMISSIONER OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES, NASARAWA STATE ON THE OCCASION OF THE THIRD NATIONAL STAKEHOLDERS’ SEMINAR ON ENVIRONMENT AND SAFETY WITH THE THEME “BUILDING NATIONAL COHESSION THROUGH ENVIRONMENTAL SAFETY,” EDO HOUSE, ABUJA,
THURSDAY, 31ST AUGUST, 2023.
It is a great honour to address you here this morning on the occasion of the Third National Stakeholders Seminar with the beautiful theme: “Building National Cohesion through Environmental Safety”. Before I delve into the main crux of this Seminar, let me remind all of us here today that we are all contributors to the environment, which qualifies us as environmentalists.
Let us consider the tri-concepts of “environment”, “safety” and “national cohesion”.
This will enable us understand the main reason behind the purpose of organizing a National Stakeholders’ Seminar on Building National Cohesion Through Environmental Safety.
Our first concept “Environment” is derived from the French word “Environia,” which means to surround.
The environment may therefore be conceived as the surroundings in which living and non-living things, including human beings and other forms live together.
Generally, the environment is viewed as the sum total of conditions in which an organism has to survive, or maintain its life processes.
It consists of interacting Systems of physical, biological, and cultural elements which are interlinked individually and collectively.
Its main components are soil, water air, organisms and solar energy; thus, while the environment influences the growth and development of living organisms, living organisms interact with the environment with mutual effects on each other.
However, while the environment regulates the life of all organisms, and provide human beings with resources for leading a comfortable life, human beings interact with the environment more vigorously.
Consequently, the human environment is generally affected by factors which may be natural, artificial, social, biological and psychological and we must not forget that we share the environment with other creatures and are connected like a web, and that what happens to one species, happens to all.
This takes us to the relevant concept of “Safety”, which may be described as a State of being “safe” and is an emotional, psychological or philosophical state of mind – the opposite of safety is danger.
It is a condition of living free from recognized hazards and acceptable limits of risks. Safety is a nebulous concept and often associated with terms such as security, health, risks, threats and harm, which are equated or used interchangeably/mutually with it.
Safety is general relative, since eliminating all risks would be very difficult or very expensive; safety, therefore, has to be considered within a reasonable limit.
A safe situation is one where risks of injury, death or damage to property are low or manageable, and safety has to be considered within reasonable limits or parameters.
Drugs, for instance, are safe if taken within the recommended dosage.
A closely related concept to safety is “Security” which is also called social safety, or public safety and it involves providing safety from risk or harm due to Intentional Criminal Acts such as assault, banditry, terrorism and vandalism.
As a result of the moral questions involved, security takes center stage in human affairs to the detriment of substantive safety.
Now we come to national cohesion: it is a process and an outcome of instilling and enabling all citizens in the country to have a sense as well as a feeling that they are members of the same country, engaged in a common enterprise and facing shared challenges – indeed, National Cohesion goes beyond peace-keeping and conflict management.
National cohesion is based on the fact that societies and individuals can only achieve their potential when living and working together. This is realized through the regulation and reconciliation of differences, competing interests and demands.
National cohesion is strongest when everyone in the country has the opportunity, the resources and the motivation to participate in society as fully as they wish and on an equal basis with others.
Your Excellences, our Royal Fathers, Heads of MDAs, ladies and gentlemen, for better understanding, permit me to explore the nexus between the National Cohesion and Environmental Safety and how this can be managed particularly for economic development, which is why we are here today.
The concern for environment and safety has grown recently to cover the following activities: Unsound exploitation of resources in our various communities; Release of pollutants into the air and water sources from domestic, commercial or industrial waste or by-products; Gas flaring, oil spills; and The common occurrence of environmental stressors such as floods, draughts, fire disasters, population explosion, and famine.
At the same time, concern for safety which has been a natural human emotion has become glaring as a result of these events but as we interact with each other, common concerns for safety have stemmed, not only from the above environmental concerns, but also from the following human induced fears: Insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, and armed robbery, urban violence; Road and railway accidents and air disasters; and Eminent food scarcity due to human conflicts and natural disasters.
In Nasarawa State, we have instituted the Executive Order 2, 2022 to regulate mining activities for safer environment and society for both humans and the ecosystem.
We have also instituted a harmonized revenue administration to avoid multiple taxation and ease doing business in the State.
These and other measures are aimed at making Nasarawa State as “Home of Solid Minerals” a better place to live, work and invest in.
As Nigerians, we should seek what unites us than what divides us; just like what makes us happy when we are together.
We must learn to be together in tackling environmental challenges as I am aware the environment and safety management institute started environment and safety volunteers and other projects that will encourage and engage Nigerians in ensuring the safety of Nigeria and Nigerians, I salute their courage and task them to continue with it.
On behalf of my Principal, His Excellency, Engr. Abdullahi A. Sule, the Executive Governor of Nasarawa State and the good people of Nasarawa State, I am pledging our continuous support to the Institute as worthy partners in environmental safety interventions in Nasarawa State and beyond.
I urge you all to rise up as good ambassadors of the environment to promote a Safe Environment for National Cohesion; it is our only treasure on earth.
I thank you all and may God bless our effort.