Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Environment, Mrs Ibukun Odusote, says the future looks very gloomy for Nigerian forests due to the over-exploitation of economic trees and other vital forests resources.
Mrs. Odusote Stated this in Abuja today, on the occasion of the “2019 International Day of Forests.”
She noted that this year’s celebration – “Forests and Education” as well as its slogan “Learn to Love our Forests” – clearly re-inforces the need to educate ourselves on the importance of the forests and learn how to appreciate and use them for our benefits as well the benefits of the unborn generation.
“In line with the theme, the choice of this venue (Cyprian Ekwensi Centre For Arts and Culture, Abuja) named after one of Nigeria’s renowned lovers of arts and culture further creates an opportunity for us to re-learn about our National Flower, the Yellow Trumpet (Costus spectabilis).
“Of all our national treasures, I dare say that this is the most unrecognised and most mis-represented. This yellow flower has been consistently wrongfully represented as red in some of our Coat of Arms.
“Worst still, the plant that used to be ubiquitous and can be found virtually in every part of the country – which is the reason it was chosen as our national flower besides its multiple use – is now endangered and can only be found as relics in very few areas,” she added.
Odusote further stated that her ministry has structured this year’s presentation to focus on reminding Nigerians of the likelihood of losing her indigenous and iconic plant species if she continues to treat her forests resources as what is in perpetuity if no conscious effort is made to use them sustainably.
Dignitaries who gave their goodwill remarks at the event recalled that there was a time in most tropical countries, especially in Nigeria, when forest and its abundant resources contributed significantly in sustaining the national economy until the discovery of oil.
Though, that era has since gone, they pledged to advocate for endangered Nigerian forests and its beneficial resources for economic growth.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted and declared March 21 of every year as the International Day of Forests to raise awareness on the importance of protecting all types of forests for sustainable development.