By Agbonkhese Oboh
The Executive Assistant to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State on Environment, Dr. Evelyn Aluta, has said that a tree would produce the equivalent of $73 air conditioning, $75 of erosion control, $75 of wildlife control and $50 of air pollution reduction.
Dr. Aluta said this at a tree-planting programme, “A Million Tree Project”, organised by Community Development Advocacy Foundation, CODAF, in Ughell, Delta State.
She said that in Nigeria there is a problem of forestation, as people hew down trees without regard, but do not remember to plant a tree.
Aluta noted that “In line with the beneficial indices, a proposal to plant a trillion trees around the world was recently made to combat climate change effects.
“It is, therefore, gratifying that CODAF is a visible collaborator for this.”
Earlier in his address, Mr. Benin Richard, the Executive Director of CODAF, said the NGO envisions a self-sufficient community in the management of their environment and resources without any form of marginalisation.
He also said the Federal Government failed in a promise to plant 25 million trees in 2019.
Richard added that “CODAF fears that the way resources are extracted, much is taken from nature than she is able to replenish within a very short possible time.
“Our forests are shrinking in size and the world loses close to 3.0689 million hectares of forest land yearly.
“Nigeria’s total land area equates to 94,780, 000 million hectares. Forest covers 10% (10 million ha) of the total land area, with over 4,600 plant species identified, making Nigeria 11th most bio-diverse country in Africa.
“Nigeria forests have over 560 tree species, which ranges from 30 to 70 species per hectare.
“Ironically, Nigeria loses approximately 350,000-400,000 hectares of forest land per year, which represents about four percent of forest cover.
“This loss of Nigeria forest is so evident because a lot of damage is being done to Nigeria’s land through the processes of deforestation, notably contributing to the overwhelming trend of desertification and the extinction of trees that supports people’s livelihoods, medicine, shelter etc.
“It was on this premise that CODAF initiated the ‘A Million Tree’ project.”
On Nigeria’s commitment to tree planting, he recalled that “When the President of the Federal republic of Nigeria, made the pledge at the United Nations Climate Action (UNCA) in 2019, that as part of Nigeria’s effort to curbing climate change, the country would plant 25 million trees, this was widely celebrated as a laudable commitment.
“It is more than a year now that this commitment was made, but there is no significant action to show that Nigeria is ready to plant a tree.
“No single tree has been planted out of these 25 million trees. If Nigeria is really committed to mitigating the negative effects of climate change, 25 million trees are too small to compensate for the annual deforestation rates and the amount of carbon being emitted into the atmosphere.
“CODAF as an organisation, therefore, call on the Federal Government to invest in planting the 25 million trees yearly instead of a one-off project.”