Conservator-General condemns illegal felling of trees, threatens arrest, prosecution of perpetrators
Dr Ibrahim Goni, the Conservator-General of the Federation, has condemned the illegal logging of trees across Nigeria’s forest reserves, and warned that perpetrators who persist in the act would be arrested and prosecuted.
Goni gave the warning on Wednesday in Abuja, while briefing newsmen virtually on government’s position on the menace of illegal logging going on in the country.
According to the Conservator-General, the National Park service, which is mandated to oversee the forests, would arrest and prosecute anyone found involved in illegal logging in any of the parks.
Goni further said that the warning became necessary following recent reports indicating that some Nigerians still engage in illegal logging, which he said, culminates in deforestation across the country and, if not checked, could affect everyone.
He noted that trees absorb and store carbon dioxide and if they are cleared, or even disturbed, can release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which are harmful to the environment and humans.
“A safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment is the foundation of human life. But today, because of human action, the crisis of climate change is directly and severely impacting our lives and environment negatively.
“Deforestation affects us all, whether we realise it or not. It will lead to more infectious diseases in humans, as it has been established that deforestation can be a strong driver of infectious disease transmission.
“It reduces biodiversity; the release of greenhouse gas emissions has been negatively affecting natural ecosystems and the climate.
“The service is fighting hard to stop forest destruction, our environmental campaigns together with other stakeholders are starting to pay off, but there is still a lot more to do,” he said.
Goni further said that Nigerians needed to be educated and sensitised on the dangers associated with deforestation.
He urged state governments to join in the fight against illegal logging and deforestation in Nigeria, and called on all to report illegal loggers and their buyers to the appropriate authorities, stressing that Nigeria’s future depends on it.
“People know these illegal loggers and their buyers, they live among us, and they should report them to the appropriate authorities because the evil they are covering today will consume us all, if not nipped in the bud.
“We must work together to assist in addressing this and other crucial issues in our environment. Our office is open to collaboration and ideas and will continue to work on letting our people know the danger we face.
“This is a call to action for all well-meaning Nigerians to join in the fight of protecting our ecosystem,” he stressed.
“We also have conservation education units in communities near all the national parks in the country called support zone.
“These zones help to carry out campaign often on why trees around the park should not be felled,” Goni added.