The federal government of Nigeria in partnership with the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) plans to plant 25 million across the country.
Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said the state governors are in support of the idea and even promised full commitment.
He further said the leaders will also ensure that there is provision for the appropriate institutional arrangements in all states to ensure that every state supports the tree planting initiative.
“Governors agree that states should demarcate areas and gazette them as forest reserves. Governors also addressed the planting of trees that animals do not consume to ensure the sustainability of the forests. This will ensure that state governments get the economic, social and environmental benefits Nigeria’s forests provide,” Fayemi added.
Earlier in 2019, Nigerian professionals in forestry at the Agroforestry Farming Systems Workshop, which was hosted by the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN) made the tree planting recommendation to the government as a way to mitigate the menace of deforestation, desertification, and erosion in the country.
The felling of trees in Nigeria is largely unregulated, mostly due to low awareness on the importance of plants and also feeble enforcement of the laws that protect trees. This has triggered a significant rate of deforestation around the country.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations report, Nigeria had the highest rate of deforestation globally in 2005. Between 2000 and 2005 the country had lost 55.7% of its primary forests. Additionally, the rate of forest change increased by 31.2% to 3.12% per annum.
With the current initiative to grow 25 million trees, the potential of revamping forest areas is more feasible. Additionally, to strengthen this commitment, the government can also consider the rigid implementation of laws that prevent unauthorized felling of trees to ensure the project reaches its goal.
Also, a grave problem of forestation in Nigeria stems from the ignorance of people that perceive it as an obstruction on land. This may be as a result of little or no knowledge on the importance of these plants to the environment, such as better oxygen quality, soil preservation, dynamic eco-system and most importantly climate amelioration.
With the verse expands of land in Nigeria, there is a dire need to enlighten people on the dangers of deforestation or felling of trees. It would also be very helpful to introduce sensibilization programs for the population; especially people living close to the forest areas and parks.