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Deforestation: Niger lost 60 percent of its forests — Commissioner

Niger state has lost 60 per cent of its forests to defurestation, the Commissioner of Environment, Malam Idris Amin said. Speaking during the biweekly press…

Niger state has lost 60 per cent of its forests to defurestation, the Commissioner of Environment, Malam Idris Amin said.

Speaking during the biweekly press briefing organized by the Ministry of Information in Minna, the commissioner explained that only 40 per cent of the state forest currently remains.

According to him, the deforestation activities is mostly concentrated in Lapai, Bida, Agaie, Katcha, Suleja and Rafin local government areas of the state.

He said to check the menace, the present administration had to strengthen the enabling law which criminalises indiscriminate felling of trees and sale of charcoal in the state.

He said the law prescribed a two-year jail term and N100,000 fine for anyone who committed the offence.

“We had to strengthen the existing law on indiscriminate felling of trees and also went a step further to revoking licenses of timber operators with a window for renewal of same,” he explained.

He said the state government has to also set up the Forestry Guard to enforce compliance with the law.

He explained that the effort has begun to yield result with the arrest of 50 persons for the offence.

He said they were arrested across the state.

According to him, those who were arrested in connection with the offence have since been charged to courts, adding that majority of them opted for the stipulated fine.

He said the state government would continued with ongoing sensitization of the people using the emirate councils on dangers of engaging in such acts.

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