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Powerful people encourage deforestation in states – FG

The federal government has attributed the seeming failure to stop the ongoing deforestation in the country to powerful people in states who protect loggers that…

The federal government has attributed the seeming failure to stop the ongoing deforestation in the country to powerful people in states who protect loggers that produce charcoal for sale.
The Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, stated this Thursday while appearing at the 69th edition of the Inter-Ministerial Media Briefing organised by the Presidential Communications at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said that each time the federal government tried to move against the menace to save the environment, there was a push back at the subnational level on the ground that the trees belong to the states.
The minister, however, announced the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to achieve its target to plant 25 million trees by the year 2030 under its afforestation policy.
He said between last year and now, five million trees had been planted but added that urbanisation and agricultural activities had posed challenges to the target.
Asked to speak on felling of trees for charcoal, he said: “No other administration has tackled this issue like the Buhari administration. The challenge we are facing under deforestation and charcoal is engaging Nigerian Governors Forum because of the Land Use Act.
“The federal government is just a policy provider and doesn’t have that control over state government land to work out a modality which Kaduna State government has keyed in properly.
“It has invested some hectares of land to plant and we are working with the local governments. So, we are projecting other states will follow suit.
“What we further did to have some level of control, apart from timber legal standard, we have what we call DFTA, which is essentially to track in areas where there is so much pressure on our forests.
“After tracking it, raise red flag and then engage those communities and the state governments so that a solution can be brought and have and a level of arrest of the continuous challenge to our forest.
“What we did not tell you, is that the activities of the people in the charcoal business with all due respect are being supported by a number of powerful people in the sub-national level. And if we try to do some level of enforcement, they will tell you, we own this territory, you are federal government and you cannot enforce your rule and policy on us.
“So, that is part of the challenge in terms of controlling these activities. But in spite of this, the task force is still there, going after some of them on ad-hoc basis, trying to find out who and who is involved, who licensed who. We are doing our best to curb the situation.”

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