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Forest guards empowered to curb environmental degradation

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has begun the process of training and empowering its Forest Guards to effectively carry out surveillance activities to prevent further damage to the environment in FCT.

Dr Ramatu Aliyu
Dr Ramatu Aliyu, FCT Minister of State

Mr Austine Elemue, Special Assistant on Media to the FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, in a statement on Tuesday, August 3, 2021 in Abuja, said the minister made the disclosure at the occasion of 2021 tree planting campaign, held in Kuje Area Council.

The minister, while inaugurating the distribution of tree seedlings to area councils, communities and schools in FCT, noted that the training of forest guard was part of steps to protect the forests.

Aliyu stressed that the campaign would help 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.

She explained that the tree planting was aimed at supporting the actualisation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s pledge that Nigeria would within a 10 year period plant 25 million trees to mitigate the effects of climate change and enhance the country’s carbon sink.

Aliyu said that the FCT Administration had instituted an annual award to select the best environmentally friendly area council in the territory.

She stated that the administration had sustained the tree planting campaign with the planting of over 12,000 trees across the six area councils annually.

”This is part of efforts by the FCT Administration to reclaim lost trees and forests as well as keep the existing forest landscapes intact.”

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.

She said the theme would motivate countries to engage 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.

She, therefore, called on developers to make adequate provisions to accommodate trees.

The minister reminded residents that it was against the law to cut down trees without recourse to the relevant extant environmental laws or to agencies of the FCT Administration.

”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 actualisation 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.”

Earlier, Mr Ibe Prospect, the Acting Secretary Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, noted that the global community was facing growing challenges of climate change.

He added that harmful agricultural practices and developmental activities are known to have largely contributed to the destruction of billions of trees around the globe.

Prospect said that the Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat had intensified public enlightenment campaign in all the area councils.

He also that the secretariat had ensured 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.

By Salisu Sani-Idris

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