The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) on Thursday, July 22, 2021 called on communities and stakeholders to collaborate to curb deforestation and forest degradation in Anambra State and Nigeria as a whole.
Its Director-General, Mr Muktari Aminu-Kano, made the call at a two-day Anambra Forest-Landscape Restoration Action Plan Workshop in Awka, the state capital.
The workshop is in collaboration with the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU).
Aminu-Kano, represented by the Director, Business Development and Communication, Mr Uchenna Achunine, said that such collaboration would help stop the “ugly consequences” of climate change.
“Urgent measures must be taken to curb deforestation and forest degradation as well as strengthen the Green Recovery Nigeria Scheme to retain a significant proportion of nation’s landmass under forest.
“With increasing population, the effects of climate change are manifested through gully erosions in the South-East, especially with the fragile nature of Anambra landscape.
“There is a lot of work to do to preserve our environment, hence the partnership with NAU to hold this workshop and develop a master plan on forest landscape restoration and commit to its full implementation in the state.
“The plan can only be achieved via collaboration with stakeholders in the agriculture and environment sector, civil society organisations, communities and the media,” he said.
Aminu-Kano said that the foundation had also been influencing policies on environmental, nature, forest and ecosystem preservation, to persuade the government into action.
In his remarks, Prof. Charles Esimone, Vice-Chancellor of NAU, said that the partnership with NCF would yield massive afforestation of 10 hectares of highly degraded zones as well as train over 40 forest patrol guards.
Esimone said that the partnership was fast turning into structure for outreach to communities in Anambra and South-East in areas of afforestation, natural resources conservation and eco-tourism.
In his contributions, the state’s Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Nnamdi Onukwuba, said that the impacts of climate change and deforestation were increasing soil erosion in the state.
According to him, soil erosion is negatively impacting agriculture by reducing crop yields and quality.
“Presently, about 200,000 hectares of land is used for agriculture, this is not enough to boost food supply.
“But with forest landscape restoration, there will be increased farmlands and also turn around the ecosystem of the state,” Onukwuba said.
Also, Dr Emma Okafor, the Permanent Secretary, Anambra State Ministry of Environment, highlighted indiscriminate dumping of refuse, excavation of land, flooding and land speculators as some of the challenges driving environmental degradation.
“Having an action plan and implement it will go a long way to protect and preserve our environment,” Okafor said.
By Lucy Osuizigbo-Okechukwu