MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
An environmental activist and Chairman of Lekki State Urban Forest and Animal Shelter Initiative (LUFASI) and Nature Park, Mr. Desmond Olumuyiwa Majekodumi and other stakeholders have cautioned against the indiscriminate abuse of the human environment as nature has a way of fighting back.
Speaking to journalists on Friday at the official event launch of EkoClimathon 1.0 organised by the Eko Innovation Centre, Lagos, Majekodumi challenged young innovators to evolve ways to work in harmony with nature in our living environment and not to “fight” it as currently done in some areas. He posited that human beings must learn to save planet Earth and not destroy it.
The environmentalist who was one of the key speakers at the one day event which is preparatory to a hackathon that would hold soon on climate change, elaborated more on the need to be in harmony with nature in our environment using the Eko Atlantic project as an example.
He noted that technology was deployed to sand fill the old Bar Beach in other to create land for the Eko Atlantic project, but wondered if people ever asked question as to where the sand came from. “The sands were taken from a lot of places and in some cases from places that could impact negatively on the environment.”
He cautioned against the indiscriminate deployment of technology in our environment which he described as ‘life support’ without a careful Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)that could be supervised by a Board made up of stakeholders Eko Innovation Centre, Non Governmental Organisations, Nigeria Conservation Foundation and others.
Founder of Eko Innovation Centre (EIC) and Curator of EkoClimathon I.0; Mr. Victor Afolabi said “we are using technology through hackathon to contribute in solving the impact of climate change.
He added that the initiatives coming out from EIC largely show that “we are the biggest promoters of Civil-tec and this is our Fourth Hackathon whereby we consider climate change as one of the major areas Civil-tec can bring about changes and transformation.”
While appreciating his partners in the Eko- Climathon initiatives, Afolabi said with Eko Innovation Centre, we like to create economies that are sustainable, promoting initiatives that can build inclusive communities.
The EIC boss noted that the issue of climate change is significant in contemporary time as in a place like Lagos, “we are seeing more flooding that we had never seen before now. We are seeing huge security issues coming from farmers and herders’ clash ostensibly due to migration as a result of drying up of Lake Chad.
According to him, “all these displacement and increased urbanization and migration to urban centres are creating significant issues both economically, security wise and food insecurity. We believe that Hackathon using technology, we might uncover solutions that will help to mitigate impact of climate change.
Speaking on the role of UNICEF on climate change, the Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Nigeria and Generation Unlimited Lead; Celine Lafoucriere said the agency has chosen to partner with Eko Innovation Centre as a result of the fact that the EkoClimathon initiative falls in line with UNICEF objectives of trying to create a platform for youths to become young influencers and to, also transit from any kind of learning to any kind of earning.”
The UNICEF Chieftain remarked that “we are basically preparing young people for the world of work, whether it is through entrepreneur ship or job placement.
One of the speakers Mopipoluwa Olawunmi from Access Bank spoke on “Decoupling and Divestment for Sustainability” talked about the dynamic activities happening in the global arena with respect to green environment. According to her, these activities have precipitated some paradigm shift in the entire eco-system.
Other speakers included Annabelle Umuetuk, manager in charge of Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility at the Nigerian Brewery and the Chief Executive Officer of A4 & T Power Solutions.
The Hackathon on climate change (EkoClimathon 1.0) promises not less than $7000 prize to the eventual winner out of the 1034 participants who applied from different countries of the world.
Explaining the selection process, Afolabi said “we were open. We threw the call for application, if you have any solution that you think that can help in measurement, mitigation, adaptation to climate change and impact of climate change, we asked people to come up. We got 1034 from about 34 countries in about four continents.