Minister of Environment, Hassan Suleiman Zarma, has said that the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria Ibadan (FRIN) has a very crucial role to play in the cleanup of Ogoniland especially in the re-establishment of the mangroves and general restoration of remediated land.
The minister who stated this at the weekend during his working visit to Ibadan, Oyo State, directed the institute to scale up its research efforts and training in addressing issues of gully erosion using biological means, desertification, pollution control and climate change
While noting that the programmes of the institute cut across all areas of biodiversity, he affirmed that it is strategically placed to support and enable the achievements of National Afforestation targets through the production and improvement of indigenous species, establishment of exotic species, timber utilisation, forest products and development, bio-medicinal research, modelling forest growth, conservation of natural resources and environmental forestry and protection.
After inspecting the facilities and ongoing projects of the institute, the minister, who was visibly happy with what he saw on ground, acknowledged that the institute had become a model of innovation in its core mandate area and has demonstrated its capacity to deliver on Nigeria’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
“I am pleased to note that as the lead agency on the afforestation programme funded via the green bonds, there has been an achievement of an increase in our forest cover by 5%.
“I urge that we strive to achieve more, and I am committed to supporting the institute to serve as the vehicle to other agencies and departments in achieving our afforestation targets.
“I am also pleased to note that the Institute has embarked on key initiatives to enable it sustain itself by looking inwards via Honey production, fisheries and the likes. Its most impressive impact however is in the training of farmers in agroforestry,” he stated.
While commending the efforts, Suleiman Zarma observed that it was in tandem with the Buhari-led administration’s commitment to address various developmental issues and concerns affecting our people and ecosystem.
The minister emphasised that President Muhammadu Buhari has given marching orders to implement various policies and programmes that will benefit the generality of the people, preserve the environment, assure food security and create jobs for the multitudes of young people.
“In this connection therefore, I am directing FRIN to re-calibrate its afforestation programme to ensure that there is an in-built mechanism to engage communities in the post planting management of established afforestation projects across the country,” he stressed.
Director General of FRIN, DR Adeshola Adepoju, who conducted the minister round the facilities of the institute, assured the minister that FRIN would continue to do more towards providing afforestation cover for the country. He said FRIN is currently conducting various research programmes, in collaboration with its Colleges and Research Stations spread all over the country, support the diversification of Nigeria’s economy and boost foreign exchange earnings.