The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) and Lagos State Government, through the State Ministry of Agriculture have called on every Nigerian to adopt routine planting of trees while supporting efforts at protecting the country’s slim forest reserves.
The Organisations at a joint programme to celebrate the 2022 International Day of Forests noted that the creation and maintenance of flourishing forest reserves is necessary to ensure healthy living among the people as forest solves most environmental disasters including climate change.
The event was held at the state Secretariate, Alausa, Ikeja.
In an address, the commissioner for Environment, Ms. Abisola Olusanya added that Lagos State Government would be a lot happier if its counterparts in the country and the Federal Capital Administration could collaborate with it in developing as well as implementing efforts aimed at sustaining and increasing the nation’s forest reserves.
Ms. Olusanya remarked that Lagos has been carrying out lots of environmental sustainability initiatives including tree planting, but observed that the efforts would not make the desired impact unless all the states nationwide embraced same vision.
According to Ms. Olusanya, aggressive public awareness of Nigerians on the need to plant more trees, should be adopted to check threats to the nation’s slim forest reserves including bush burning, unregulated agric practices and urbanisation, illegal tree felling and emission of toxic substances.
She explained that “the theme of this year’s International Forests Day: Forests and Sustainable production and consumption is a pointer to the relationship between life on earth and forests. The water we drink , the medicines we take , the food we eat and enjoy, the shelter we have and even the oxygen we breathe, all have an association with forests.
“This implies that we can no longer afford to take the issues of deforestation, arbitrary removal of vegetation, illegal tree felling, emission of toxic substances to the environment and every other form of actions that endanger the ecosystem with levity.
“We must map out strategies to mitigate the effect of our activities on the environment and maintain substance forest preservation viz a viz production in line with the Substanable Development Goals (SDGs) 11,12, and 13.
“Vulnerable habitats like Lagos which has a population estimated to be over 22 million will undoubtedly face tremendous pressure exerted on the natural vegetation, especially in the area of housing and urbanisation, so there is need to embrace a conservation approach to ameliorate the incidence of climate change”
The Commissioner, reminded residents that it is against the law to cut any tree in Lagos state without getting the approval of the Directorate of Forestry in the ministry of agriculture. She urged that “we will therefore appreciate your cooperation in furnishing the Ministry with information when and where such infraction takes place”.
At the occasion, school children that excelled in an essay competition to test the knowledge of students about the benefits of forests, were presented to the public and awarded.
The students were from selected secondary schools in Lagos.
Also, organizations that have contributed immensely in promoting afforestation efforts in the country were awarded, with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, NCF, coming top through its Green Recovery Nigerian Project.
Ms. Olusanya urged that ” must guard against indiscriminate destruction of our forests as they are crucial to mitigating climate change and contributing to current and future generations’ stability and well-being. It is on this premise, that we will be involving you students, the future generation, henceforth, in the Celebration of the international Day of Forests ecosystems for the wellbeing of current and future generations”.
In her response, Coordinator Green Recovery Nigeria, Folake Salawu explained that the goal of the initiative is to plant millions of trees nationwide, towards increasing the country’s forest covers close to the independence era.
Also at the occasion, NCF donated 2000 tree seedlings to the Lagos State Government to support ongoing tree planting efforts by some state agencies.
The donated tree seedlings are to be planted, first in the schools of all the children that excelled in the forestry essay, and then in some places across the five districts that make up Lagos.
High point of the event was the ceremonial planting of trees by officials of Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture and their counterparts at NCF