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World Ocean Day at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, 14 June 2019

The Day 2 event started with a courtesy call to the Vice Chancellor and a welcoming event for the First Lady of Ondo State, Her Excellency, Arabinrin Betty-Anyanwu Akeredolu. All the principal officers and invited guests present were introduced and welcomed as well. Thereafter, the event was moved into the Hill-Top Auditorium, Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA). The Vice Chancellor of FUTA, Professor J A. Fuwape declared the event opened.

In his opening speech, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. J.A. Fuwape, accentuated on the importance of ocean conservation and its enormous benefits to humankind. He said “it is only proper to conserve our ocean in order to save and serve the future generations”. He further expressed the need to be aware/conscious of the importance of the ocean to our daily survival and take notes of our actions as they directly and indirectly have effect on the ocean.

The chairman of the occasion, Professor O.A. Fagbenro of the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture Technology, FUTA, warmly welcomed everyone present at the occasion. In his speech, he pointed to the fact that, the livelihood of the fishing community rests with womenfolk and they must ensure that the ocean is not over-exploited.

This year Goodwill message from Mundus maris asbl headquarter in Brussels was delivered by Dr. Adeleke M. Lydia of the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture Technology, FUTA. She brought greetings from the President of the organisation, Dr. Cornelia E. Nauen, and the Vice President, Professor Stella Williams, and all other members of the Mundus maris asbl team. She highlighted the great effort of hundreds of researchers collaborating around the world to assess the state of biodiversity on the planet (IPBES Report 2019). The verdict of the researchers is that humans have produced so much waste that as many as one million out of estimated eight million species of life on the planet on the land and the ocean are now suffering from poor health or are even threatened by extinction. This is why each year for World Ocean’s Day, people are invited to reflect and work on the UN motto for the Ocean. “This year is all about the equality of rights of women and girls and how we are all connected to the ocean”.

She also pointed to the programme pamphlet with the five tips for protecting the ocean.

The Akure Core Team with pupils of FUTA Staff School posing at the event

The wife of the Governor of Ondo State, Arabirin Betty Anyanwu- Akeredolu, delivered the 2019 Mundus maris keynote address for the World Oceans Day celebration with the theme, “Women and Ocean”. In collaboration with the Federal University of Technology Akure, Nigeria, she called on all stakeholders, especially the women folk, to develop a proper waste disposal culture as part of efforts to restore the health of the ocean. She expressed concern at the gender inequality as experienced in most parts of the world and encouraged women to be more proactive and engage in ocean protection and sustainable use, especially as they are major practitioners in the fishing sector. The first lady further explained that, the ocean has been degraded due to plastic pollution which finds its way to the ocean via rivers and floods as a result of poor waste disposal practices. She said plastic pollution is the greatest threat to the ocean’s resources adversely affecting aquatic life. The wife of the Governor said so many of the ocean’s resources are scarce due to activities of pollution and overfishing. She pointed out that about 8 million tons of plastics enter the sea every year and at that rate, the world faces a future of “an ocean of more plastics than fish”.

Arabirin Anyanwu Akeredolu, while lauding the role of women in aquaculture, said women earn approximately 64% of men's wages for the same work. She took us through the fact that she also had her first degree in Zoology, second degree in Fisheries and Aquaculture and is now working on her MPhil/PhD in public health. She was formerly with Federal Department of Fisheries and has contributed immensely to the growth of the fisheries sector in Nigeria. She is still contributing as an active commercial fish farmer. She warned that most of the livelihood of women along the coastal areas depends on the ocean and therefore, a proper action plan must be put in place to arrest the degradation. Emphasising the role of women in conserving the ocean, she said women had an important role to play as they are in charge of waste disposal from the kitchens. She outlined plans including measures for awareness creation, geological surveys, public education, promoting personal responsibility, corporate action and government regulations. She said concerted efforts must be made to save the ocean from further pollution as all of life is connected to the ocean, and benefits gotten from it are immense including food, herbs and even tourism.

She expressed her willingness to become active with Mundus maris asbl by becoming a member; she sent representatives last year Mundus maris WOD celebration, but came in person this year.

The Provost of Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology gave a goodwill message and motivated everyone there to find their place in management of the largest natural resource on earth. Different career opportunities around the ocean were highlighted and the young minds, especially the girls, were encouraged to pick up a career in different ocean-related areas while also encouraging researchers present to always making visible the roles of all gender groups in ocean-related activities. The provost in person of Captain Dr. Abiodun Sule was ably represented by Abiodun-Solanke AyoJesutomi who is also the coordinator of Mundus maris in Lagos and environ.

The Quiz competition session was moderated by Dr. B.O. Akinwalere (Department of Agricultural Extension Communication, Technology, FUTA). Petit Monde Bilingual School, Akure presented a short drama in French Language, this was later interpreted by the Proprietress. The Society for Women in Marine Science (SWMS) (FUTA) also made their presentations on their Society activities around the ocean. This group was led by Ms. Amaku Nancy Chioma. The Women Invest Group (WIG), Akure, led by their group leader Mrs. T Y. Olatunji, turned out en masse for the event. Three hundred (300) participants from the Staff Secondary School, FUTA were led by Sir Anthony Ikuyinminu (Principal), Mrs. Adekambi F.M. (Vice Principal). Mr. Ajayi C.B. and Mr. Ajakaye O.A. to grace the occasion. Honorary Diploma Certificates of Participation were presented to the participants of the Mundus maris Awards contest for WOD 2019. Most of the awardees were students of the Staff Secondary School, FUTA. Answers can be found here.

Some other notable women such as Professor T.T Bolu, Director of the Centre for Gender in Sciences and Technology (CEGIST), Prof. E.A. Adeparusi (Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture Technology, FUTA) also pronounced wise words for mainstreaming gender awareness into all we do whilst also encouraging the young ones to be more engaged. The event came to a close at around 1:30pm with some 300 participants in attendance and some University Principal Officers (DVCA - Prof. Ogunsemi, DVCD - Prof. P. Oguntunde, University Librarian, Dean SAAT - Prof. T.T. Amos, Dean Students’ Affairs - Prof. G.E. Onibi, and HOD Marine Science Technology - Dr. Oladapo), The Ondo State Commissioner of Women Affairs (Mrs. Titilola Adeyemi), members of press FUTA and Ondo State, Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Ondo State Radio and Television Corporation, FUTA Radio, Members of the public and Her Excellency entourage. The event was closed with group photographs.

 VIPs and members of the organising committee pose at the end of the celebrations.

The Local Organising Committee (LOC) was composed of Dr. O. K Gbadamosi, Dr. A.A. Adeledun, Dr. Olawusi-Peters, Dr. M.L. Adeleke and Prof. O.A. Fagbenro (Chairman).