The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) recently partnered with the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture and Kwara State Ministry of Environment to commemorate the International Day of Forests (IDF).
In Lagos, the IDF 2022 events with the theme “Forest and Sustainable Production and Consumption” were held at the Conference Room of the state’s Ministry of Agriculture, which is located the Secretariat, Alausa Ikeja last Monday.
The Kwara State leg of IDF 2022 took place four days later at Sity Inn, GRA Ilorin, the state capital.
The Monday event witnessed a speech presentation by the Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya; award presentation to the winners of essay competition organised by the Ministry; and tree planting exercise within the Secretariat.
Olusanya emphasised that it is against the law to cut any tree in the state without obtaining the approval of the Directorate of Forestry in the Ministry of Agriculture. She enjoined the students to be Agric-preneur rather than pursuing white-collar jobs. She urged members of the public to imbibe the culture of conservation.
She said: ‘We must map out strategies to mitigate the effects of our activities on the environment and maintain sustainable forest preservation viz a viz production in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 11,12 and 13. Vulnerable habitats like Lagos which has a population estimated to be over 22Million will undoubtedly face tremendous pressure exerted on the natural vegetation, especially in the area of housing and urbanization, so there is need to embrace a conservatory approach to ameliorate the incidence of climatic change’.
Olusanya added: ‘We must guard against indiscriminate destruction of our forests as they are crucial to mitigating climate change and contributing to current and future generations’ stability and well-being. It is on this premise, that we will be involving you, students, the future generation, henceforth, in the celebration of the International Day of Forests’.
NCF donated 2,000 indigenous seedlings to the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture to support its efforts at reforestation in line with its flagship Green Recovery Nigeria (GRN) programme which aims to help increase forest cover in Nigeria from its current state of about four to six per cent to 25 per cent in 2047.
In attendance at the Monday event were Special Adviser to the Governor on Rice Initiative, Dr. Oluwarotimi Fashola; the Permanent Secretary of the state’s Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs. Tokunbo Emokpae; Director of Forestry, Mr. Austin Hunpe; Coordinator, NCF Green Recovery Nigeria, Ms. Folake Salawu; CEO of Emadel Integrated Energy Services, Engr. Gbenga Adeyemi; and Mr Ganiu Amifowoshe of Dengel Anifowoshe Enterprises; among others.
On Thursday, NCF Director General, Dr Muhtari Aminu-Kano, who was represented by the Director of Technical Programmes, Dr. Joseph Onoja showed excitement about the hosting of the IDF 2022, the turnout of participants, and the key lead role played by the Kwara State Government through its Ministry of Environment.
He said: ‘The Nigerian Conservation Foundation is happy with the partnership it has with the Kwara State Government. This is in commitment to the organisation’s drive to build partnership that will impact positively on the environment. Today in the commemoration of the IDF, we use this opportunity to showcase the importance of forests in particular, and the environment in general, to the well-being of humans. The importance of forests cannot be overemphasised as they serve as sources of food, medicine, raw materials etc for humans and habitat for wildlife. It therefore behoves on all of us to take care of the environment especially sustainable utilisation of our forests’.
In her statement, the state’s Commissioner for Environment, Hon. Abosede Olaitan Buraimoh shared that, in addition to ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all by the year 2030, the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also advocates the need to efficiently manage our shared natural resources, encourages recycling and reducing waste.
She therefore noted that ‘the fundamental purpose of celebrating the International Day of Forests is to let the people know about the importance of trees in our environment. The most critical phase from which the world is passing through now is a complexity in the form of Climate Change. The proportion of Ozone layer has shrunk to a threatening level, while the only reason behind it is pollution because of human activities on earth.
‘The International Day of Forests Celebration is also an attempt to demoralise the process of deforestation for the sake of urbanisation and modernisation. Let not the world ruin the beauty of this universe through deforestation. The inorganic and artificial sources of joy can bring a temporary smile but cannot be a source of permanent happiness and pleasure, as the forests are. Therefore, the aim of this annual event is to urge every individual to contribute on their part what he or she can to protect this planet’.
Students of Bishop Smith Memorial College and Ajoke Group of Schools, both in Ilorin, made presentations on the dire need to protect the remaining forests and embrace sustainable living, less of dependency on the forest’s products.
The Ilorin event, tagged Kwara State Stakeholders Forest Dialogue, which was supported by Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, had in attendance the Permanent Secretary in the state’s Ministry of Environment, Pastor Abraham Kola Ojo; the Director of Personnel, Finance and Supply, Pastor Adeniran Adebara; and the Director of Forestry, Alhaji Babatunde Idris Mahmud.