Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari promised to plant 25 million trees in the next ten years to battle climate change and boost the country’s carbon sink.
To that purpose, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has established an annual prize to honour the territory’s most ecologically conscious area council.
On Tuesday in Abuja, FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, announced this at the commencement of the 2021 tree planting campaign and distribution of seedlings to area councils, villages, and schools.
The Minister also added that the administration has sustained the tree planting campaign with the planting of over 12,000 trees across the six area councils annually as part of efforts by the FCT Administration to reclaim lost trees and forests as well as keep the existing forest landscapes intact, stressing that this campaign also helps in raising the level of public awareness on the importance of engaging individual and collective actions to boost tree planting activities in the nation’s capital.
Aliyu, who described the theme: “Forest Restoration: A Path to Recovery and Well-being” as apt, however, stressed that the theme sets an agenda for countries to demonstrate practical commitments to the safety of the environment by engaging in actions that would address issues of land degradation, desertification and effective management of the ecosystem towards the restoration of forest resources and mitigating the effect of climate change.
While calling on developers to make adequate provisions to accommodate trees, she used the occasion to remind residents that it is against the law to cut down trees without recourse to the relevant extant environmental laws or to agencies of the FCT Administration.
Her words : “you will recall that in 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Climate Action Summit organized by the United Nations, pledged that Nigeria will within a 10 years period plant 25 million trees to mitigate the effects of climate change and enhance the country’s carbon sink.
” To support the actualization of this pledge, I would like to announce the institution of an annual award to select the best environmentally friendly area council in the FCT. The seedlings that will be distributed today on this occasion is symbolic. It is expected that the area councils will play their part by organising tree planting exercises in their various domains towards meeting this target”.
The minister revealed that as part of steps to protect the forests, the administration has begun the process of training and empowering the FCT Forest Guards to enable them effectively carry out surveillance activities to prevent further damage to the environment in the territory.
Earlier in his remarks, the Ag. Secretary Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Mr. Ibe Prospect, noted that the global community is facing growing challenges of climate change, while adding that harmful agricultural practices and developmental activities are known to have largely contributed to the destruction of billions of trees around the globe.
Ibe said that the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat has intensified public enlightenment campaign in all the area councils, ensuring that relevant stakeholders such as the area council authorities, traditional institutions, estate developers and students are carried along to engage in practical activities towards tree planting and forest restoration.
The highpoint of the event was the distribution of tree seedlings to stakeholders and planting of trees by the FCT Minister of State, area council chairmen, traditional rulers, and notable actors in the entertainment industry.