By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
In it’s bid to stem desertification with it’s negative consequences on environment, Niger State Government is rolling out two million trees seedlings to be planted by all adults across the state before the end of the current raining season.
The tree seedlings are to be given out free by the state government under a special programme inunciated by the state Ministry of Environment and Forestry in conjunction with it’s Agriculture counterpart.
The state government said the move had become imperative to curtail an imminent disaster as tree logging and felling have exposed the state to desertification which is now creeping in across parts of the state with speed.
The government called on citizens to support efforts at ending tree felling to control desertification which is fast encroaching into the state. It also enjoined them to report cases of tree felling to authorities as part of measures to check the increasing cases of tree felling which have continued despite existing legislation against it.
The statement from the government said planting trees would help in conserving water cycle by returning water vapour to the atmosphere. It noted that without conservation, replanting for afforestation, many forest lands and green vegetations in the state would be destroyed to degenerate into deserts with it’s multiplier consequences on the state and the human environment.
The statement issued by the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Jonathan Tsado Vatsa, conveyed government’s directive to all local government councils in the state to ensure compliance by all adult citizens across the state for each person to plant at least one tree during the current exercise.
The tree planting exercise would be on from this August till the end of the current raining season so that the trees planted would be well rooted and rain fed for their nurturing and growth.
The state government has bought over two million tree seedlings of assorted economic trees species for distribution to citizens.
The statement said modalities for the distribution of the trees to citizens have been worked out even as it enjoined them to collect the trees and plant them in their localities and nurture them to grow.
”Government is making concerted efforts through the Ministry of Environment to see that the tree seedlings are made available to all citizens in all the twenty-five local government areas of the state” the statement explained.
The government according to the statement hopes to redress the vagaries and challenges of climate change, ensure erosion control and check the devastating effects of desertification.
It said “trees play critical roles in absorbing the greenhouse gases that fuel global warming, they serve as wind breakers and provide shelter belts. We therefore strongly warn against indiscriminate felling of trees especially Sheanut and other economic trees in all parts of the state”.
The statement cautioned that the law against tree felling either for logging, for fuel wood or any other purpose was still in force.
It further enumerated other dangerous effects of large scale tree felling to include loss of biodiversity, exodus and migration of wildlife, ecological imbalance, soil erosion, flooding which leads to disruption in hydrological cycle of catchment area, and worst of all, desert encroachment.