Efforts are picking-up and on course towards realising the Federal Government’s goal of recovering 25 percent of the country’s lost forest covers by year 2047.
The Director General, Nigerian Conservation Foundation, NCF, Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano who stated this noted that the foundation which is a key partner with the Federal Ministry of Environment in realisation of the goal, has been collaborating with lots of organisations in tree planting initiatives that have given meaning to the project.
Dr. Aminu-Kano was speaking in Lagos after the foundation planted two thousand (2000) tree seedlings in partnership with Pernod Ricard Nigeria.
In his remark, the NCF Director General observed that the compliance level of organizations and even individuals in adopting tree planting , among other sustainability efforts has been satisfactory.
Dr. Aminu-Kano who was represented by the Director Business Development and Communications of the foundation, Mr. Uchenna Achunine noted that NCF had involved in different scales of partnership with organisations leading to planting of millions of trees and increasing awareness creation on the benefits of tree planting.
According to him, the high compliance level shows that there is hope for Nigerian environment and the planet as a whole.
He said, ” That many people are coming to partner with NCF shows that there is hope for the environment and for our planet.
“If you listen to the conversations going on in the last one year and more in the build up to COP26 that happened in Glasglow and afterwards, you see that there is a whole lot of focus and discussion ongoing on how to save our planet that so many say is a planet in peril.
“So it is interesting seeing a lot of organisations like Pernod Ricard and others partnering us on our very important project-the Green Recovery Nigeria project ,which has tree planting as its major focus. It shows that this our planet after all is saved. Projects and activities like this would help tackle the issue of deforestation and also help with the issue of carbon sink that is being talked about. Currently we have less than 8% of Nigerian landscape that is green.
“The Green Recovery project of the Federal Ministry of Environment is to have 25% of the Nigerian forest cover greened between now and 2047 and NCF is a key partner with the ministry. This project is one of the ways we are contributing towards achieving that objective.
“We commend Pernod Ricard Nigeria and also encourage other organisations to toe this line because this is the only way we can save our planet. NCF has whatever it takes to carry-on this project as a national NGO with presence across Nigeria. Wherever any organization wants us to go to plant trees ,we will go there and provide all the technical support that they require to achieve that project.
“We have the policy and advocacy unit that their work is to engage with the government and other stakeholders to issue out the message. We have the education unit that goes to schools to create awareness about the tree planting and all the projects that NCF carry out. So awareness is picking up and we are now moving round trying to identify other smaller organisations that we will help to grow into big environmental NGOs that will help in pushing out the message because we cannot push out the message alone across Nigeria. So,very soon you are going to see a spring up of so many environmental NGOs that will be doing same thing that we are doing across Nigeria”, Dr. Aminu-Kano added.
Commenting on the initiative, the Managing Director of Pernod Ricard Nigeria, Mr. Sola Oke explained that it was in keeping faith with the company’s policy of setting aside a day every year to carry out environmental sustainability programmes that benefit their host communities.
Mr. Oke noted that some 18,000 employees of the company today involved in different environmental programmes across the globe impacting their host communities, explaining that in west Africa, 2000 trees were planted in Nigeria, 2400 planted in Ghana while 1000 trees were planted in Cote D’Ivoire.
“As part of our sustainability and responsibility agenda for Pernod Ricard, we got 4 pillars that we focus on and nurturing nature is one of them. It is all about restoring nature and biodiversity. So, for us,it is to make sure that we give back to communities we are operating in. This is not only in Nigeria, it is global it is in all our markets. We take a day out every year for employees to help communities that we operate in.
“Today 18,000 employees of Pernod Ricard globally are out of their offices and supporting the communities where there operate in.This year, we focus on restoring nature and biodiversity. Whether it is planting trees ,making sure that we bring back equilibrium into the ecosystem.
“Deforestation is a major problem of the environment and that is why we carry out an initiative like this, and partnering with NCF is helping to ensure that we continue to plant trees to maintain and sustain the environment. So,I urge a lot of people to also key in. I am very surprised to see that NCF is carrying out projects like this and it is not just in Lagos, it is across the nation. So,we are partnering with them to see that there is sustainability in the environment.
“We have been on this project since the last 4 months. This is just the symbolic tree planting. We are planting two thousand trees across the whole of Nigeria and we are also doing it in other countries. We are doing another 2400 in Ghana,we are doing another 1000 in Côte D’voire and that is only the region where I cover. Global, we are doing so much”.
A statement by the Head of Communications NCF, Mr. Oladapo Soneye says looming environmental challenges will be avoid as more people commit themselves now to restoring the environment, preserving it for future and deliberately paying attention to reforestation and restoration programmes.
According the statement, the foundation established in 1980 remains committed in it’s vision of a Nigeria where people prosper while living in harmony with nature.
The statement reads in parts,
“The role of forests in supporting the energy requirements of mankind is as old as creation itself. Mankind evolved from firewood gathering to large-scale forest despoliation to supply both domestic and international energy demands.
“The importance of having the forests with us has been highly stressed even now than it was before due to the roles performed in stabilizing national security, creation of job opportunities, sources of livelihood and the natural health care center for the average rural poor. These opportunities are rapidly being eroded due to threats from competing land uses, unsustainable agriculture practice, over exploitation of our forest reserves (this includes unregulated activities of both timber and charcoal merchants), and poaching.
“If we as people commit ourselves now to restoring the environment, preserve it for future, proffer solutions and deliberately pay attention to reforestation and restoration programmes, such as the one being promoted by NCF and Pernod Ricard, at all levels, individuals, corporate organisations and governments, when everyone begins to live sustainably, we shall avoid the looming trouble environmental challenges are throwing at us, although most are man-made.
“As part of its Sustainability & Responsibility (S&R) agenda for the year 2022, Pernod Ricard Nigeria in collaboration with NCF plants 2000 tree seedlings at Old Oyo National Park, Sapateri, Oyo State; Pan-Atlantic University, Ibeju-Lekki; Omo Forest Reserve, J4, Ogun State; Lagos Business School, Lekki and round it up at Lekki Conservation Centre, Lagos.
“Some of the tree seedlings planted include Shea Butter – Vitellaria paradoxa, Cashew – Anacardium occidwntale, Parkia (Locust beans) – Parkia biglobosa, Mango – Mangifera indica Queen palm, Golden palm, Mango, Sour sop, Citrus, Native apple and Eucalyptus among.
The tree planting exercise in Ogun, Oyo and Lagos States commenced few weeks ago and was brought to conclusion today, 16th June 2022 at Lekki Conservation Centre. Mr. Sola Oke, Managing Director of Pernod Ricard Nigeria led his team in the exercise, while Mr. Uchenna Achunine, Director of Business Development & Communications received the team on behalf of the Director General of NCF”.