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NCF seeks stakeholders’ support for green recovery

By Victor Gbonegun
03 December 2018   |   4:03 am
The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has tasked stakeholders in the sector to work together to recover the nation’s forest potential.

Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) Trustees member, Mrs. Francesca Emanuel (left); NCF BoT President, Chief Philip Asiodu and NCF Council member Dame Marie Fatayi-Williams during the green ball in Lagos

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has tasked stakeholders in the sector to work together to recover the nation’s forest potential.

According to the foundation, in the last six years, Nigeria is estimated to have lost about 95per cent of its forest cover, remaining just five per cent in places like Cross River, Mangroves in the Niger/Delta and very few in creeks which are located all around the country.

NCF Director General, Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano made the appeal at its 2018 Green Ball/Award Night held in Lagos with the theme, ”Green Recovery Nigeria-restoring mangroves and reclaiming the desert”. He said the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) group, from 2005 till now, had observed that Nigeria has the highest rate of deforestation in the whole world, more than any other countries.

Aminu-Kano also said, the nation is also losing 351,000 hectares of land to desertification every year, “With that concern, we have to make sure that there is a initiative like the green Ball for Nigeria to be green again. All of us will remember that when we were growing up either in the city or village, these places were very green, but today, they are no more greener. Every year, 350,000 hectares of forestland is being changed into desert-like condition. The desert is advancing by about zero point six per cent which is about half kilometres every year. We therefore need concerted effort and everyone must work together to protect the forest”, he stated.

He said authorities mustn’t allow the people to continuously lose the important roles of forest, which include, purification of the air, provision of food, shelter, conservation of the soil/ water shields, saving lives and properties from floods/gully erosion and climate change among others.

“Nigeria has one-third of the entire mangroves in Africa. This is the largest in the continent and the third largest in the entire world. The Niger Delta Mangroves are estimated to provide 60per cent of the spawning grounds of fishes in West Africa. Mangroves absorb carbon and they determine the livelihood of the coastal dwellers. Nigerian Mangroves make up 40per cent of the remaining original forests in Nigeria and cover 10,500 square kilometres”.

The special guest at the event and wife of the Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Environment, Mr. Biodun Bamgboye, commended NCF for the initiative and efforts in advocating for re-greening Nigeria and various other conversation projects.

Earlier, NCF President, Board of Trustees, Chief Izoma Philip Asiodu lamented that failure of the authority to grow the economy coupled with the ever-increasing population and impact of climate change on the forest sector. He further observed that non-release of fund to address ecological problems and non-adherence to the five-year plan to return the lost forest are great impediments to efforts spearheaded by stakeholders.

At the ceremony, the widow of late General Murtala Muhammed, Mrs. Hafsat Ajoke Muhammed and wife of the Governor of Ogun State, Mrs. Olufusho Amosun received the environmental stewardship awards. The award is in recognition of their uncommon passion for nature conservation according to the organisers.