Environmental activist who made history by travelling from London to Nigerian, as well as Nigeria to London by road, Chief Newton Jibunoh, will, from today, write for The Sun, Nigeria’s Voice of the Nation.
Chief Jibunoh, an engineer, with specialty in soil mechanic and founder of a non-governmental organisation, Fight Against Desert Encroachment (FADE), will, in his column which will run on Thursday, bring to bear his vast knowledge in a variety issues.
The 80-year-old activist, who is also an arts enthusiast, will be remembered for his exploration, with his crossing of the world’s largest desert, alone, on two occasions, and the third time with a group.
Jinunoh, who founded Didi Museum, crossed the Sahara, from Europe to Nigeria, the first time, in 1966, as a youth adventurer.
The second time he successfully embarked on the journey, from Nigeria to Europe, in 2000, as an environmental crusader, in his attempt to create awareness on desertification and environmental degradation in Sub-Saharan Africa.
On the third occasion, in 2008, he crossed the Sahara, in a 60-day expedition with a group of four, also to create awareness on “effects of desertification on desert dwellers, global warming and climate change.”
Speaking on his adventures, Jibunoh once told the CNN: “The Sahara was the largest desert in the world and very active. So I decided to explore it.”
On his experiences driving through the desert, he also said: “Driving from Europe all the way across the Sahara, you must be ready to die.”
Born on January 1, 1938, Jibunoh studied Building and Civil Engineering in London, where he found himself among “astrologists who were sent into space,” he stated. The astrologists’ journey to space fired Jibunoh’s zeal of adventurism as, according to him, “I decided to make an impact on my own. So, when it was time to return to Nigeria, I promised to do something that would remind me of being in that school. I decided to drive from London to Lagos in 1966.
“Each time, I got to various embassies, some of them told me it was impossible. Some reminded me of a number of people who had died in the process, so, it became a challenge. I didn’t believe that I was going to die while doing things that would bring innovation into the lives of Nigerians. So, I was able to conquer that fear. I had the fear of trying new things, going into unknown places and breaking barriers and crossing over to new territories.”