The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has announced the institution of an annual award to select the best environment-friendly area council in the territory as part of measures to mitigate the impact of climate change.
The FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, disclosed this during the 2021 tree planting campaign and flag off of the distribution of tree seedlings to the area councils, communities and schools in the FCT held in Kuje Junior Secondary School, Abuja, on Monday.
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Dr Aliyu said the award was in furtherance of President Muhammadu Buhari’s pledge that Nigeria would within a 10-year period plant 25 million trees to mitigate the effects of climate change and enhance the country’s carbon sink.
She added that the FCTA had sustained the tree planting campaign with over 12,000 trees planted across the six area councils annually aimed at reclaiming depleted forests.
Aliyu who described the theme: “Forest Restoration: A Path to Recovery and Well-being”, as apt, however, stressed that the theme set an agenda for countries to demonstrate practical commitments to the safety of the environment by engaging in actions that would address issues of land degradation, desertification and effective management of the ecosystem towards the restoration of forest resources and mitigating the effect of climate change.
While calling on developers to make adequate provisions to accommodate trees, she used the occasion to remind residents that it was against the law to cut down trees without recourse to the relevant extant environmental laws or to directives of agencies of the FCTA.
She said, “You will recall that in 2019 President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Climate Action Summit organised by the United Nations (UN), pledged that Nigeria would within a 10-year period plant 25 million trees to mitigate the effects of climate change and enhance the country’s carbon sink.
“To support the actualisation of this pledge, I will like to announce the institution of an annual award to select the best environmentally-friendly area council in the FCT. The seedlings that will be distributed today on this occasion is symbolic. It is expected that the area councils will play their part by organising tree planting exercises in their various domains towards meeting this target.”
The minister revealed that as part of steps to protect the forests, the administration had begun the process of training and empowering the FCT Forest Guards to enable them effectively carry out surveillance to prevent further damage to the environment in the territory.
The acting Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development of the FCTA, Mr Ibe Prospect, lamented that harmful agricultural practices and developmental activities had largely contributed to the destruction of billions of trees around the world.
Mr Prospect said the secretariat had intensified the public enlightenment campaign in all the area councils, ensuring that relevant stakeholders such as the area councils’ authorities, traditional institutions, estate developers and students were carried along to engage in practical activities towards tree planting and forest restoration.
The highpoint of the event was the distribution of tree seedlings to stakeholders and planting of trees by the FCT Minister of State, area council chairmen, traditional rulers and notable actors in the entertainment industry.