Photo: Dr Muktari Aminu-Kano, NCF DG
The Director-General, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) Dr Muktari Aminu-Kano has urged communities and stakeholders to collaborate with the foundation in its efforts to curb deforestation and forest degradation in Nigeria to mitigate the “ugly consequences” of climate change.
He made the call at a two-day Anambra Forest-Landscape Restoration Action Plan Workshop holding in Awka in collaboration with the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU).
“Urgent measures must be taken to curb deforestation and forest degradation, as well as strengthen the Green Recovery Nigeria Scheme to retain a significant proportion of nation’s landmass under forest. With increasing population, the effects of climate change are manifested through gully erosions in the South-East, especially with the fragile nature of Anambra landscape.
“There is a lot of work to do to preserve our environment, hence the partnership with NAU to hold this workshop and develop a master plan on forest landscape restoration and commit to its full implementation in the state. The plan can only be achieved via collaboration with stakeholders in the agriculture and environment sector, civil society organisations, communities and the media,” he said.
Aminu-Kano, who was represented by NCF’s Director, Business Development and Communication, Mr Uchenna Achunine, said that such collaboration would help stop the ugly consequences of climate change, adding that the foundation had also been influencing policies on environmental, nature, forest and ecosystem preservation, to persuade the government into action.
Prof. Charles Esimone, NAU Vice-Chancellor, in his remarks, said that the partnership with NCF would yield massive afforestation of 10 hectares of highly degraded zones, as well as train over 40 forest patrol guards.
He noted that the partnership was fast turning into a structure for outreach to communities in Anambra and South-East in the areas of afforestation, natural resources conservation and eco-tourism.
Also speaking, Mr Nnamdi Onukwuba, Anambra State Commissioner for Agriculture,, said that the impacts of climate change and deforestation were increasing soil erosion in the state, stressing that soil erosion was negatively impacting on agriculture by reducing crop yields and quality.
“Presently, about 200,000 hectares of land is used for agriculture, this is not enough to boost food supply. But with forest landscape restoration, there will be increased farmlands and also turn around the ecosystem of the state,” he said.
Dr Emma Okafor, Permanent Secretary, Anambra State Ministry of Environment, in his remark, noted that having an action plan and implement it would go a long way to protect and preserve the environment and argued that indiscriminate dumping of refuse, excavation of land, flooding and land speculators were some of the challenges driving environmental degradation.