The Nigeria Conservation Foundation (NCF) has partnered with the Stanbic IBTC Bank to plant 30,000 trees across 10 states of the country.
The flag-off of the tree planting exercise took place at the Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC) in Lagos on Friday, September 29, 2023.
Speaking at the event, the Director-General of the NCF, Dr Joseph Onoja, thanked the Stanbic IBTC Bank for believing in the vision of the NCF in the restoration of Nigeria’s forest cover to 25 per cent.
Onoja noted that the activities of man had impacted negatively on the environment, thus making nature to fight back, especially as shown in the coastal lines of the Lekki Ajah corridor.
He said that, for the past 40 years, NCF had been making deliberate efforts at nature conservation, rebuilding Nigeria’s biodiversity and saving species in peril.
“And that is why as the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, the foremost conservation NGO, we started 40 plus years ago, when it was not fashionable to talk about environment conservation in Nigeria.
“We are standing on the shoulders of giants, one of them we just lost some few days ago in the person of Chief Akintola Williams; he was one of our Board of Trustees members.”
The D-G said that Nigeria had suffered greatly especially in terms of loss of forest cover.
“We have degraded so much of our forest, that we have less than 10 per cent of our forests than we have in the 1960s when we got independence.
“We learnt the art of deforestation and logging without the art of proper forest management and that is where we find ourselves today.
“This is why we came up with the Green Recovery Nigeria project to build back at least 25 per cent of our forest cover,” Onoja said.
While expressing his profound gratitude to the bank, he added that he would continue to portray the bank as an environmentally responsible entity at any forum he found himself.
In his goodwill message, the Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic IBTC Holdings, Dr Demola Sogunle, said that it was with immense sense of pride and gratitude to flag-off the planting of 30,000 trees in 10 states of the federation.
Sogunle said that the initiative was a testament to Stanbic IBTC’s unwavering dedication to sustainable future.
He said that trees transcend the mere symbols that embodied life itself, adding that they function as the lungs of our planet, furnishing us with oxygen that we breathe in and absorbing the carbon dioxide.
“Moreover, they act as guardians of biodiversity, providing shelter and sustenance to innumerable species.
“In collaboration with the NCF, as part of the Green Recovery Nigeria initiative, we are amplifying this chorus of life by 30,000 voices, 30,000 stories of hope, resilience and rejuvenation.
“We have sown not only trees, but the seeds of a brighter tomorrow.
“However, this moment transcends the sheer number of trees we are planting, it is about the profound impact these trees will have.
“It is about the shades they will cast on scorching days, the habitats they will offer to birds, the sustenance they will provide to ecosystems and the carbon they will capture to combat climate change.
“It is about the educational value they bring to our communities, a reminder of the interconnectedness of all life on Earth,” Sogunle said.
Also, the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tokunbo Wahab, said that tree planting was a gift to the environment.
Represented by Mr Olabode Adeola, Deputy Director, Conservation and Ecology, Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, Wahab said that the trees serve as carbon sink; they absorb the carbon and give out oxygen.
He added that they serve as the lungs of the earth.
The highlight of the occasion was the planting of trees at the LCC.
By Fabian Ekeruche