Fashola: We Must Rethink Use of Resources Taken for Granted


By Bennett Oghifo

Nigerians have been urged to change the way they live and adapt to the reality of dwindling resources in the choices that they make daily.

Minister of Power Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola stated this in a keynote address, ‘Urban Design in the Age of Climate Change’; he delivered recently at the first Nigeria Urban Design Forum 2016.

According to Fashola, “The way we use land, the way we use electricity, the way we use petrol, the way we use water, the way we use transport facilities and the way we do many other things that we took for granted now demand a rethink and adaptation.”

He said the heart and soul of adaptation therefore was planning and conservation; “Waste not, want not; because what is wasted, whether water, whether fuel, whether land, will never be enough.”

The minister said his advice stemmed from the fact that “our planet has changed; and for it to serve us, we must adapt. The planet is our shield, our roof, our home and our floor. It will remain, but we will go. What we get out of it, while we are here, depends on what we are ready to give back to it.”

He said regardless of doubts expressed in the past, “the abundance of evidence has clearly demonstrated that not only is the threat of climate change real, its impact is already being felt and human beings are perhaps the most vulnerable.

“From diminishing fresh water sources to desertification and loss of arable land to high water levels and flooding, survival induced conflict in the search for land, food, and water, higher cost-of-living arising from volatile rises and crashes in the cost of oil and hydrocarbons as sources of energy for fuel, heating, lighting and production of goods and services, the human civilisation faces a turbulent survival.”

He said the examples at home are many; “the erosion of Nigeria’s coastal waterfronts, loss of property and lives as a results of flooding, loss of grazing land as a result of desert encroachment, diminution of Lake Chad, silting of many rivers, requiring humongous capital outlay to re-dredge and maintain them to serve their sustenance purpose of transport and agriculture, clashes between herdsman and communities, power outages, high cost of fuel, electricity and drinking water, etc.”

He listed the global remedies for the survival of the human civilisation as mitigation and adaptation, adding “In essence, the damage has been done.