The Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammed Abubakar, has said his ministry is currently strategizing with all its relevant implementing agencies to plant 100 million trees under Nigeria’s national afforestation programme.
Speaking to journalists yesterday at a press briefing, he said it was part of government’s commitment towards afforestation to combat the negative effects of climate change.
He underscored Federal Government’s commitment towards afforestation, saying it had seen the nation leapfrog from planting 292,140 trees in 2019 to over 18 million in 2020 through the combined efforts of the ministry and the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN).
“The ministry through the combined effort of Federal Department of Forestry (FDF) and Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN) has seen the total number of trees planted to have jumped from a baseline of 292,140 in 2019 to 18,500,000 in 2020 towards fulfillment of Mr. President’s pledge of planting 25 million trees.
“Though the target could not be achieved because of the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, we are hopeful of meeting the target in 2021. Currently, a capacity of planting 100 million trees is being strategised in collaboration with all the relevant implementing agencies of the ministry,” he said
In line with the ministry’s effort towards national forest cover restoration, he further said a collaboration was fostered between the Federal Ministry of Environment and the 36 state governors to gazette lands for forestry development which is the first of such accord between the state and the Federal Ministry of Environment. Currently, more than 10 states have gazetted lands for forestry reserve in their states and they have been submitted to the ministry’s afforestation department.
Listing other achievements of the ministry, he said the Great Green Wall (GGW) programme being implemented by an agency under the ministry, the National Agency for the Great Green Wall (NAGGW) Programme is equally improving the well-being and reducing vulnerability of the people living in the dry lands to climate change through improved use of land and other natural resources for sustainable development.
According to him, some of the achievements recorded under the programme include raising of 15,611,105 seedlings; establishment of 4,701.58 ha of plantations ranging from shelterbelt, woodlot, orchard, Acacia Senegal (gum arabic) and indigenous tree species; construction of 202 solar powered boreholes; procurement and distribution of 1,705 units of solar home lightening systems in the 11 frontline states; provision of 16 solar street lights in 4 rural markets in Kaugama and Birniwa local government areas of Jigawa State.
Others, he said, included the procurement and distribution of off-road motorcycles for the enforcement of tree felling in Baturiya Forest in Kirikasama Local Government Area, Jigawa State; and training of 1,197 women and youths in various entrepreneurial and agro business skills as well as conducting school outreach programmes in 55 schools in the 11 frontline states.
The minister added Nigeria is on the verge of assuming the leadership of PAN African GGW later this month, saying with the presidency, the country could access more funding, collaborations and raise ambitions on the fight against desertification and also great improvement in afforestation and reforestation programmes.