The Nigerian Centre for Climate Renewal, Resilience and Adaptation (NICRA) says plans are underway to plant trees in the 831 public schools in the FCT as part of its green environment project.
Mr Abdullahi Geidam, the Executive Director of NICRA, made the disclosure on Thursday, March 30, 2023, in Abuja at the pilot scheme of its School Tree planting Programme.
The project was launched at the Model Primary School Asokoro with the planting of not less than 50 trees.
Geidam said that though planting trees in all the public schools in FCT looked unachievable, but with the right partnerships it would be achieved for the benefit of residents.
“Our hope is to see how we can expand the tree planting programme to all schools in Nigeria but our focus for now remains public schools and there are 831 public schools in Abuja and that is massive.
“We can’t do it alone but we are determined to get it, we are going to partner with Carriters in the Catholic Church, we understand they have a programme for planting trees in churches.
“We will partner with the private sectors and hold our local companies responsible through their Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) commitment to the environment of host communities.
“We are going to be talking to companies like BUA, Dangote and Cadbury and all local companies who are making money from the environments, from their local communities, and using their resources to make money.
“They must be part of the programme, they must plant a tree because planting a tree saves the earth, so we must plant trees together and we are doing this through the schools,” he said.
He said that the tree planting project would be done across the country in two selected states from each of the six geopolitical zones.
Geidam recommended that teachers be trained in climate education and that climate related subject needed to be introduced in school curriculums from nursery to tertiary level.
He said that plans to partner with appropriate education regulatory bodies and stakeholders were already underway to ensure sustenance of the school tree planting programme and the introduction of climate education.
“Two weeks ago we wrote a letter to the Honourable Minister of FCT and through this school we have been able to meet the regulatory authorities of schools in Abuja.
“And of course we have written letters to the FCT Secondary Education Board (SUBEB) to see how we can partner in terms of planting trees in schools in Abuja,” he said.
Mr Ravi Bajaj, Head of Sales, Simba Group, said that the organisation was ready to partner NICRA to ensure sustenance of the programme for the benefit of Nigerians and to secure an eco-friendly environment.
Bajaj said that the group was already in partnership with the group to distribute 5,000 locally fabricated clean cooking stoves to residents in rural areas in the North eastern part of Nigeria to discourage wood cutting.
“We are joining hands with NICRA for the clean cooking stoves because what we have seen in the rural area and villages is the deprivation of woods, so that they do not use it for cooking.
“So we want to bring clean cooking stoves to Nigerians particularly to states like Adamawa and Borno where they will be using it and the conception of wood cutting will be reduced and carbon gas will be reduced,” he said.
Mr Damilola Adesina, a representative of the African Development Bank (AfDB), lauded the tree planting initiative by the group, adding that it would enhance healthy green and sustainable environments.
Adesina said that the AfDB was committed to healthy environment and had funded so many projects and was still in the process of funding other projects that had to do with climate mitigation and adaptation.
“As a matter of fact, AfDB has a commitment to sustaining the environment through the environmental and social safe gases policies of the bank.
“One of the key areas of the AfDB is protecting biodiversity which is generally the environment to ensure that there is pollution reduction, resource efficiency, as well as ensuring and improving ecosystem services,” he said.
Mr Lawal Nurudeen, Managing Director of Agro Presico Ltd, urged the federal government and other stakeholders to support green environment initiatives especially for the benefits of local farmers.
“This programme is an initiative that as farmers we can key into. If you look at the impact of climate change, it is more felt by people like us that are engaged in farming activities.
“From what happened last year, Nigeria lost a lot of money and farmers too lost a lot of money as a result of the impact of climate change.
“In Adamawa, in Kogi, we were affected and we lost almost 45 hectares of rice as a result of the flooding. So, initiatives like these are something that we are impressed with and we feel we can also key into,” he said.
Mr Danjuma Saidu, representative of Mercy Corps, said that the tree planting programme was an opportunity for Public Private Partnerships (PPP) towards enhancing healthy and sustainable eco-friendly environment.
By Diana Omueza