By Usman Gwadabe
A rare commemoration of World Conservation Day in a colourful demonstration by students, teachers, activists, stakeholders, public servants and journalists was held in Kano State.
The day came as a surprise to most of the participants due to their misunderstanding of the nature of conservation, especially regarding birds’ protection and safeguarding.
Many of us at the venue of art competition to mark the commemoration of World Migration Bird Day slated by United Nations on October 21 and May 5 every year organised by Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) in collaboration with Egyptian Vulture New Life Project, held at Kano Government Girls Arabic Secondary School, Goran Dutse, on Tuesday, thought that birds are not important to our environment apart from eating some and harassing others like vultures which some people refer as dirty creatures.
However, in his keynote address at the event, NCF Head of Northwest, Muhammad Boye, told the gathering that vultures are very important to environmental cleanliness, adding that it is called environmental cleaner.
Boye revealed that these birds that used to eat dead bodies of human beings, animals and others, assisted in making world protected from germs and bacteria.
He lamented that vultures are no more visible in the country, revealing that some decades back, such birds were in hundreds in the nation.
He added that before, there were Egyptian vultures that migrated to Nigeria, noting that this event was designed to remind the citizens on the existence of such birds.
He added that NCF organised the competition to enable students to make a drawing of bird as a way to inculcate how it looks like in their minds, disclosing that the programme was themed ‘Sing, Fly, Soar Like a Bird’ with a view of emphasizing nature conservation.
The NCF Northwest head said: “Today we are celebrating the day which birds travel through nations without visas,” adding that some of such birds come from iced areas and migrated during hunter to Africa for survival.
“When they migrate it would enable them to have food to it and survive,” he said, citing that some birds like Shamuwa as farmers see her, it is notifying them with the rainy season approach, thus birds alert human beings to understand changes of environmental seasons.
Director Educational Support Services, Alhaji Hashim Muhammad Tukur, who represented the state Commissioner of Education, appealed to NCF to source bird that are common in the state and preserved them in the state Zoological Garden for citizens to know them, urging the NGO to sustain the partnership for both sides to benefit.
He revealed that so far seven school conservation clubs were inaugurated in the state, assuring that the others would soon form theirs to enable students to understand the benefit of nature preservation.
The representative, who doubles as the judge for the art competition, gave criteria for winning, revealing that space management, originality, operational instruments and finishing are the guidelines for marking.
He announced the participating schools as Sani Bello Science Secondary School, Dawakin Kudu; Government Girls College, Dala; Government Secondary School, Sabowar Kofa; Kano Capital Girls Secondary School; Government Junior Secondary School, Yar Bita and Government Girls College, Kano.
He further said four moderators were selected among the participants to assist him to do justice with the Egyptian Vulture Drawing.
Upon that, the students were provided with material for the drawing and gave them 40 minutes to finish.
At the end Aisha Madaki from Kano Capital Girls Secondary School emerged first, while students from Sabuwar Kofa and Dala took second and third position respectively.
The winner, Aisha expressed happiness for emerging first, appreciating the NCF and her teachers for the support to realise her talent.
On her part, Hajiya Imma Abdulkadir, the director of the school, said it was the first of its kind in the state, appreciating the NCF for choosing the school for the programme, despite similar learning centres.
At the end, NCF awarded the three winners with gifts.