Stakeholders in the environment sector have underscored the need for the country to preserve its forests and their resources to avoid possible environmental disaster.
The stakeholders stated this during the golden jubilee and 42nd annual conference of the Forestry Association of Nigeria (FAN), on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 in Ibadan, Oyo State.
The five-day event has ”Forestry Development in Nigeria: 50 years of Interventions and Advocacy” as its theme.
Speaking at the occasion, the Minister of Environment, Dr Muhammed Abubakar, called for concerted and holistic approach by all stakeholders towards the preservation of forest resources in Nigeria.
Abubakar, who spoke via Zoom, said forests and their resources should be protected to avoid environmental disasters.
He said that the ministry, in its bid to create sustainable environment, had implemented the 25-million tree planting agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
He also said that the ministry had engaged in various massive afforestation programmes.
Also speaking, the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Sabo Nanono, emphasised the importance of taking care of the ecosystem and forests in order for the system to be balanced.
Nanono, represented by one of the directors in the ministry, Mrs Iyabo Mustapha, said that the ministry had embarked on sustainable agriculture through agro-forestry by planting resources in the forest to conserve the soil.
In his remarks, Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State said that the current situation of forests in the state was of great concern to his government.
Makinde, represented by his Special Assistant on Environment, Mr Demola Aderinto, said government, in its bid to create a sustainable environment, had involved youths in its “clean and green” project to ensure cleanliness and conservation of green environment.
He urged research institutes to come up with enduring solutions to the challenges facing forestry in the state and Nigeria at large.
The governor also appealed to the Federal Government to support the state in its fight against deforestation and climate change.
Earlier, the FAN National President, Alhaji Ahmad Ibrahim, said that the association was focused on promoting sound management of forest resources.
Ibrahim said that the aim was to ensure self-sufficiency in forest product supply under a stable environment that provided a strong base for friendly and sustainable environment.
“In its 50 years of experience, the association has traversed all the geo-political zones of Nigeria by organising 41 conferences and several workshops on national and international forestry and environmental issues.
“In the area of sharing, the association can boast of 2,500 articles in forestry and environment-related fields as outcomes of 41 annual conferences.
“It has also published over 500 peer reviewed articles in 47 volumes of the association’s journal, a foremost journal that won N5million TETFUND grant in 2013.
“In celebrating this anniversary, there is the need to reflect on key elements of ecosystem services, current global changes and their effects on environment and livelihood, hence the choice of the theme,” he said.
Highlights of the event were the unveiling and cutting of the anniversary cake and presentation of awards to various deserving members and partners of the association.
By Chidinma Ewunonu-Aluko