THE Ogun State government in collaboration with the Tropical Wood Exporters Association of Nigeria, (TWEAN) has flagged off a tree planting campaign with a view to tackling the massive deforestation of the nation’s forests.
Speaking at the tree planting ceremony, Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosu said that Nigerians should see tree planting as solution to the problem of global warming and its impact on the environment.
Amosu also said the campaign will further create awareness on the need for people to imbibe the culture of reforestation and to desist from habits that are detrimental to a safe environment.
According to the governor, who was represented by Kolawole Lawal , Commissioner for Forestry, Ogun state is the only state in Nigeria with a dedicated Ministry of Forestry adding that the government has been working round the clock to see that tree planting is not only seen as an option to conserve the forest resources but as the right strategic choice towards restoration, beautification, healthy, and industrial friendly environment.
He said: “We are committed to raising trees of both exotic and indigenous species that will support the natural symbiotic relationship between man and mother earth”.
Similarly, Minister of Environment, Hajia Aminat Mohammed noted that the government has expressed concern over the rate of deforestation a development she claims has led to the loss of between 350,000 to 400,000 hectares of land mass per annum.
Mohammed disclosed that Nigeria current forest cover is five percent which according to her is at variance with recommended 25 percent of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The Minister further disclosed that the International Union for Conservation of Nature in its 2013 report said that Nigeria has a total of 309 of threatened species of flora, fauna and wildlife.
According to the minister, it was this staggering statistics that moved the government to control the wanton destruction of the forests.
She said “With this staggering statistics, the Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the state forestry services needed to take drastic measure to control the wanton destruction of our forests.
“If we must prevent the imminent danger of total collapse of the ecological system in our country, then we must speedily embark on massive aforestation and restoration of our degraded forest reserves.
“We must fashion out appropriate policies and strategies for sustainable forest management in our country while the entire citizenry must adopt responsible behaviour towards our forests.
“The Federal Government will continue to provide appropriate policy guidelines, facilitate dialogue with relevant stakeholders’ participation in aforestation and sustainable forest management for the enhancement of livelihoods, socioeconomic development and environmental protection in Nigeria.
“Currently, the Federal Ministry of Environment is dialoguing with relevant agencies of government on the promotion of alternative sources of energy so as to reduce the pressure on our forest due to fuel wood extraction”.