‘Why Federal Government suspended issuance of CITES permits’
The Federal Government has suspended issuance of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES Permits, because of illegal, uncontrolled and unsustainable exploitation of forest resources, trees outside production landscape and illegal trade in wildlife.
Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed said it would take effect from January to March 2017 in order to provide the enabling period for them to come up with a policy direction to addressing the issues of forest degradation and deforestation in the country.
Mohammed, who spoke while inaugurating an Inter-ministerial Committee on Afforestation, tasked the committee to be committed and dedicated to a call for national service, adding, that it would provide a platform for a strategy to achieve effective utilization of our forests.
According to her, the forests have gradually been degraded and deforested arising from intensive logging of timber for domestic and export markets, extensive agricultural practices, conversion of forestlands to other land use.
“All these have led to reduction of forest cover from 10 percent of the country’s landmass to less than 5 per cent forest cover at present. The 3.5 per cent rate deforestation per annum is unacceptable if we must achieve sustainable development and environmental sustainability”, she said.
Mohammed gave the terms of reference as follows, reforestation and initiatives to address degraded forest resources and trees on production and declining forest cover; review existing forest policy and enactment of forest laws; improving enforcement and Forest Governance.
She also told the committee to look into trade in timber products and wood processing for export market; forest assessment, management and conservation of protected areas; finding mechanism and mobilization for sustained forestry department and forest revenue administration.
Others include, research and development: areas of focus include, reduction of gestation period of the forest tree species, development of suitable seed banks in Nigeria, energy provision, capacity building and human resource development for optimal forestry improvement.
Responding, the chairman of the committee, Mr. Ahmed Abdulkadir promised to work assiduously within the terms of reference as well as keep to four weeks given to them to complete the assignment.