Gov. Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe on Saturday, launched the 2020 tree planting campaign to combat environmental degradation in the state.
Yahaya, while flagging off the exercise in Wajari, Yamaltu-Deba Local Government Area of the state, said the initiative was to address the pressing ecological challenges facing the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the exercise tagged “2020 Gombe Goes Green tree planting campaign” with the theme: “Greener Gombe for a Greater Gombe” is aimed at planting one million trees yearly.
He noted that economic and social development could only be achieved through the initiative to protect the ecological system that supported lives and livelihood, hence his administration’s commitment toward the environment.
Yahaya said the state government decided to prioritise ecological restoration and preservation as a result of the severity of the diverse environmental challenges confronting the state.
“Available evidence shows that about two-thirds of our entire state is facing various forms of land degradation such as desertification, deforestation and other negative effects on agricultural productivity leading to declining crop yield.
” It is common knowledge that our state is one of the frontline states that are threatened by rapid desert encroachment.
” Desert encroachment is also exposing our lands to wind and gully erosion, silting of rivers and lakes, and drying up of our water bodies.
“Like desert encroachment, the challenge of gully erosion has reached alarming proportion in our state, causing huge disruptions in the socioeconomic lives of our people,” the governor said.
Yahaya added that the state had lost between 65 to 96 per cent of its entire forest cover in past four decades.
“This is largely due to firewood and charcoal extraction, agricultural expansion and urban growth amongst other factors.
“As a result of years of unabated deforestation, our state has lost exotic indigenous trees and animal species, witnessed dangerous disruption of carbon and water cycles and loss of livelihoods,” he said.
The governor, however, said that he had directed the Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources and the Ministry of Justice to expedite the on-going review of forest resources laws.
“We cannot afford to spend huge amounts of scarce resources to plant and nurture trees, only for them to be felled and sold for peanuts by some unpatriotic elements,” he added.
In an interview with NAN, the State’s Commissioner of Environment and Forestry Resources, Dr Hussaina Goje, said since the inception of the initiative in August 2019, over one million trees had been planted.
Goje added that the state had also raised over 1.3 million tree seedlings of about 39 different tree species in various nurseries across the state.
” This is one of the greatest projects in Northern Nigeria because there is no state that has embarked on massive tree planting campaign like Gombe state,” the commissioner said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)
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