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Stakeholders canvass stringent policy against deforestation

The Vice-Chancellor, Bayero University Kano (BUK), Prof. Sagir Abbas, has urged government at all levels to come up with effective policies that will prevent deforestation and safeguard the environment.


Abbas made the call on Monday, April 29, 2024, in an interview with newsmen on the sidelines of the final workshop of the Royal Society Funded Research Project in Abuja.

The project is on “Access to Clean and Modern Energy for Cooking while Reducing Land Degradation and Biodiversity Loss in Nigeria.”

The project is an international collaboration between BUK, the University of York and University College London (UCL), UK, funded by the Royal Society.

Abbas said that rate at which Nigeria was losing its environment was alarming, adding that something needed to be done quickly to save the environment for future children.

He said that the research project had demonstrated how clean energy could be generated from daily waste with very simple technology to curb deforestation.

According to the professor, fuel-briquets which is a form of clean energy can be generated in from cow dung, corn cob, saw dust, cassava peal, palm kernel shell, rice husk and other daily farm waste materials in place of charcoal.

“We have seen how that can be done through what we throw away when we eat corn; very clean energy can be derived from these wastes.

“And by the time government comes in and brings out a policy, enforce it and then escalate these alternative sources of energy, we can begin to see the impact on Nigerian environment.

“The rate at which the environment is going is really very scary, very alarming and very bad for the country.

“Government needs to do more in terms of our environment; people at will, can go to any forests, start cutting trees and bring out the woods and sell.

“There is need for government at this moment to come up with a decisive position so that we save the future of our children,” he said.

Also speaking, the Emir of Nasarawa, Alhaji Ibrahim Jibril, said that the research result should be scaled up to national and international level.

He said that no matter how good a research result was, if it was not publicised in such a way that it could be utilised, it might not achieve the desired goal.

“The main goal is to reduce or possibly eliminate deforestation; what we have done is demonstrate alternative; the goal is ensure that our women who are in the front of pollution from carbon can be given succour,” he said.

The traditional ruler called for a widespread campaign to raise awareness among rural dwellers and to educate traditional leaders in the grassroots for quick adoption of the technology.

The Project Lead, Prof. Aliyu Barau, said that, as researchers, they were happy with the outcome of the project and how it was attracting stakeholders’ attention.

He said that over the past 20 years, Abuja FCT, Nasarawa, Niger and Kaduna states of Nigeria had lost forest size that was equal to five times the size of Lagos State.

The professor said that the United Nations rated Nigeria as number one when it came to issues of deforestation.

According to him, Nigeria is faced with existential threat; if forests in Nasarawa disappear, it means more topsoil will be washed into the water bodies and it will go down to the Niger Delta.

Barau, however, said that Nigeria had been trying many approaches over the years saying that it is encouraging to finally find a lasting solution.

“The devastation will affect everywhere, the birds, the plants, insects, that we see all around will disappear.

“But we now have solutions, government has been propagating these things, but now we are happy to see solutions coming.

“So now, it is all about disseminating these ideas, let them go sideways, upward, downward in all direction.

“This idea is easy to do; it a kind of do it yourself, everyone can do it; it means that, we as researchers, have done our part to understand the extent of the problem and proffer solutions,” he said.

The high point of the workshop was the demonstration of efficacy of fuel-briquets for cooking as alternative to charcoal.

By EricJames Ochigbo

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