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Govt inaugurates Inter-Ministerial Committee to actualise 25-million-tree programme

The Federal Government has inaugurated an Inter-Ministerial Committee to implement President Muhammadu Buhari’s plans for 25 million trees in the country.

25m trees committee
Minister of Environment, Dr. Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar (middle); Environment Minister of State, Sharon Ikeazor (left); and Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Ibukun Odusote, during the inauguration of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on 25 million trees

Dr Mohammad Abubakar, Minister of Environment, inaugurated the committee on Thursday, December 19, 2019 in Abuja.

Abubakar said that the move was imperative to mitigate the effects of climate change and enhance the country’s carbon sink, and in furtherance to its commitment to address effect of climate change.

Buhari had promised at the 74th United Nations General Assembly that Nigeria would plant 25 million trees to address deforestation, climate change and increase carbon sink among others.

Membership of the committee include Office of the Minister of Environment, State Minister’s Office, Office of the Permanent Secretary, Department of Forestry, Climate Change Unit, Drought and Desertification Amelioration as well National Park Services.

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Others are National Agency for the Great Green Wall, Representatives of Governors Forum, Civil Society Organisations, the private sector, Wood Export Association, Dangote Foundation and Ministries of Agriculture, Water Resources and Women Affairs.

The Minister added that the action was also part of Nigeria’s commitment to restore 4 million hectares of degraded land to fulfil its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and adhere to the Paris Agreement.

“These collective efforts are further strengthened by successes recorded in the Green Bonds and on-going afforestation and reforestation efforts by various departments and agencies to ensure a resilient future that mainstreams climate risks in our decision making.

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“Nigeria will continue to provide the leadership toward ecological restoration and recharge of Lake Chad which is expected to improve the livelihoods of inhabitants of the areas, promote inter-state cooperation among others,” he said.

He said that, towards actualising the plan, the ministry would collaborate with the Ministries of Education; Youth and Sport; Women Affairs; Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to provide the required leadership role.

He also urged the committee to look at possibilities of accessing the 2019 budget regarding afforestation for the purpose of raising seedlings across the country.

Prof. Adeshola Adepoju, the Director General, Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), said Nigeria had made giant stride towards actualising the 25 million trees by inaugurating the committee.

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Adepoju, Chairman of the committee, said the last time Nigeria had massive afforestation was in 1986 during the regime of retired Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.

He said agencies like Forestry Department and Great Green Wall, among others, had collected almost 20 million seedlings that would be used for the afforestation programme.

By Francisca Oluyole

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