Botanical Society calls for baseline data on economically important indigenous plants in readily accessible format

Botanical Society of Nigeria

Botanical Society of Nigeria

The Botanical Society of Nigeria (BOSON) has called for the federal government to ensure that the baseline data on most of the economically important indigenous plants of Nigeria are in readily accessible format.

BOSON in a communiqué released at the end of its 24th Annual Conference at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, also recommended among other things: bench mark standard for Botany accreditation by the National University Commission (NUC) in all universities should include the establishment of a Herbarium as a repository of plant biodiversity and tool for training in ecology and systematics as well as said that data base of plants of Nigeria and their categorisation according the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) listing, are both imperative for a sustainable utilisation of the indigenous flora.

The theme of the conference was “Plants and Economic Development.” It featured wide-ranging components including but not limited to biodiversity conservation, natural products, veterinary, energy, environment and sustainability.

The Conference attracted participants from over 30 universities in Nigeria and other parts of Africa, research institutes, colleges, industries, media, publishing houses and alternative medicine practitioners. Some of the dignitaries present at the occasion included Professor A. A. Onilude, Dean of Science, UI (who ably represented the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. A. I. Olayinka, Chief Host); Professors Emeritus Oladipupo. O. Akinkugbe, David T. Okpako and David U.U. Okali; Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. O.T. Ogundipe; serving and past deans of faculties, heads of departments and captains of industries.

Keynote, plenary and technical session presenters all concurred, hitting a common ground: the inseparability of plant biodiversity and human life, noting that the observed decline in the quality of human life is traceable to the corresponding decline in plant biodiversity and associated ecological systems.

The Conference saw a record attendance of 262 registered delegates, never before reported at previous meetings. It observed that there is underfunding of education at the tertiary level in Nigeria, both at State and Federal levels. “This is sharply felt in the basic sciences where hi-tech science equipment facilities are scarce for teaching and research,” it noted.

According to the communiqué, there is marked enthusiasm, competence and capacity among the Nigerian botanists to conduct research into different areas of societal needs, to provide baseline scientific information whose practical applications form the bedrock of industrial growth, employment opportunities and national development.

BOSON called on governments for greater fund allocation to Tertiary Education in general and the botanical sciences in particular in order to raise the standard of research. The society urged universities to strengthen the botanical sciences by constantly reviewing the curriculum to accommodate, incorporate and reflect current trends.

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