Sokoto state government has procured two million seedlings for distribution to people in its effort toward fighting desert encroachment and promote habitable environment.
Gov. Aminu Tambuwal disclosed this at the inauguration0 fof 2020 tree planting campaign on Wednesday in Sokoto.
Tambuwal said the objective of the awareness campaign was to arouse general public interests on the importance of planting trees to curb the rapid deterioration of the environment.
He said the effort was also to check the scourge of drought, desertification and mitigate the effect of climate change.
The governor stressed the need to address these challenges faced by people, adding that trees were being felled every hour and no commensurate efforts to replace them.
“We engaged in some unfriendly environment attitudes such as bush burning, proliferation of charcoal business, aggressive use of power saw machines on trees falling.
”Total disregard to the forestry laws are indeed of great concern,” Tambuwal said.
He said that the theme of this year’s celebration: ”Re-greening Sokoto state for economic empowerment”, was chosen in line with the state government deliberate policy of economic empowerment.
He reiterated the continuous implementation of the policy to ensure the sustenance of the plantations up to maturity by the local government areas.
The governor urged farmers to take interest in the cultivation of tree crops such as mango, cashew, guava, date palm, gum arabic and other trees as measures to alleviate poverty and address the issues of unemployment.
According to him, the establishment of private plantations for positive investment, rather than illegally destroying the forest reserve estate.
Tambuwal also directed state ministry of environment to harness the venture and undertake a comprehensive study with a view to coming up with an alternative sources of energy.
He said that state had also prepared necessary recommendations on the way forward to reduce pressure on the diminishing forest estate.
He said implementation of the approach had been reviewed according the number of seedlings to be distributed to some individuals and organisations.
He said that 20 schools were also selected across the state where garden and orchards would be established to inculcate the zeal and commitment to tree planting in the children to enable them to become gainfully employed after leaving school.
Tambuwal appealed to the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar to request the traditional and religious leaders in the state to join hands with government to protect the environment and most importantly forest reserve estate.
He also directed the ministry for local government to ensure that the 23 local government areas in the state adopt and implement the policy of the annual tree planting exercise.
The governor also warned the general public to desist from illegal felling of trees, encroachment into forest reserve, unnecessary excavation of ditches to avoid land degradation and erosion.
The governor called on people to always pray cooperate with the government and security agents for the sustainable of peace in the eastern zone of the state and take measures against COVID-19 disease.
Earlier, Sultan Abubakar urged the government at all levels to take measures against felling trees as well as providing modern stoves to the masses to address the challenges.
Abubakar commended the state government for its various developmental programmes and assured it of the Sultanate’s continued support and cooperation.
The Commissioner for Environment, Alhaji Sagir Attahiru- Bafarawa said the reason for establishing gardens and orchards in the premises of mosques, schools, housing estates and individual houses was to serve as economic catalyst and to fostering the preservation and conservation of the environment.
Attahiru-Bafarawa highlighted some of the achievements recorded in his ministry which include purchase of 53 units of garbage tricycles, purchase of 10 units of tippers for refuse evacuation, construction of five modern refuse bunkers, purchase of two units of wheel loaders among others.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that two papers were presented on the importance of planting trees and its sustenance to maturity; and the importance of tree plantation from Islamic point of view.
Presenters included Dr Ayuba Dan-Asabe of Usman Danfodiyo University and Malam Lawal Maidoki, the Chairman of the state Zakkat and Waqaf Commission (SOZECOM).
Edited By: Grace Yussuf (NAN)
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