Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, has said that the ministry would convene an emergency forest and biodiversity dialogue with relevant stakeholders to show its zero tolerance for the level of damage done to forest in Nigeria.
Mohammed, who said this during the celebration of International Day of Forest in Abuja, yesterday, added that all commissioners of environment, directors of forestry, Ministry of Finance and relevant NGOs would be involved in the dialogue aimed at putting a stop to activities causing deforestation and forest degradation.
According to her, forest in wetlands depends on water sources and at the same time, forest ecosystem sustains water quality and helps mitigate the risks of water related disasters. But she said, “Many see forest as source of revenue generation with little or nothing ploughed back for forest development. Activities of timber merchants, especially illegal loggers, continue to worsen the situation and the Ministry has zero tolerance for the damage done to the forest in Nigeria.”
She described the rate of deforestation and forest degradation arising from intensive logging of timber and fuel wood extraction as unacceptable
In his own submission, Director General of Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Adeniyi karunwi said if about two-third of the estimated population of 170 million Nigerians will individually plant or adopt a tree within their precincts and accord the trees the needed care, the nation would well be on the pathway towards having 25 per cent of its landmass under forest.
According to him, it is pertinent to be interested in Trees outside the Forest (TOF), simply defined as trees in cities, farms, along the roads and places other than forests, and the roles they play in urban greening and microclimate management.
Karunwi said myriads of opportunities forest offers had exposed it to “unhealthy exploitation by forest-dependent population beyond its regenerative capacity. This unsustainable extraction and the attendant dwindling stock of forest resource have made calls for its conservation.”
He said the present level of stakeholders’ involvement in forest conservation agenda was commendable but observed that more could still be achieved collectively and individually and urged Nigerians to engage in thought provoking reflections on how best to address the challenge of securing the remnant of the nation’s forest.
Earlier in the weekend, Karunwi had said in order to mitigate the effects of climate change on the environment as already being felt in Nigeria, public advocacy about the environment should be intensified among the populace so as to be more aware of the need to adjust their lifestyle and reduce carbon emission which poses a threat to human existence.
He said this at the Foundation’s headquarters in Lekki, Lagos, during the event to commemorate the Earth Hour 2016, organized in partnership with a nongovernmental organisation, Connected Development (CODE).
During the event that was marked with the symbolic one-hour of darkness, between 8:30pm and 9:30 pm, so as to encourage the reduction of carbon emission and observed across over 170 countries according to time zones, Karunwi said there was need for social and political will to intensify campaign against the rise in global temperatures.
According to him, this accounts for the reason the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has also declared a commitment to 20 percent emission reduction of greenhouse gases for the country.
Coordinator of CODE, Dotun Babayemi, while speaking at the event, said earth hour had yielded results and Nigeria should not be left behind in the campaign.