OrderPaperToday – March 21 of every year is set aside to celebrate the International Day of Forest which came into being following a resolution made by the United Nations General Assembly on the 28th of November 2012.
The purpose of this day is to sensitize the public on the importance of forests and trees on its current and future benefits for the every country.
Unfortunately, the state of forests in Nigeria has left much to be desired. As at 2018, the Director General, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Muhtari Aminu-Kano declared that only 4% of original forest is left because the country had lost 96 per cent of its forest due to deforestation.
The causes of deforestation have been hinged on high level of industrial and vehicular emissions, increasing need for wood fuel for domestic use, unregulated felling of trees, bush burning, droughts and soil erosion, rapid urbanization and oil spillage.
To curb this menace, Aminu-Kano advised on urban regeneration, planting of more trees and stop to felling of trees as fuel for cooking and furniture purposes.”
The National Assembly has however made some moves by sponsoring legislative drafts to promote afforestation in the country.
The Senate leader, Ahmad Lawan sponsored a bill to establish the forestry research institute of Nigeria for research, education and training which was signed into law by the then Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo on the 17th August 2018.
The institute will have its headquarters in Ibadan and outstations and colleges will be in the six geographical zones of the federation.
Also, the institute is saddled with the responsibility conducting research into the development of agro-forestry systems for the integration of forest trees of economic importance into farming systems; ecology of pests and diseases and their control, control of desertification, soil erosion and deforestation.
Another bill in this line will help regulate the profession of forestry, sponsored by House of Representatives member, Adeyinka Ajayi.
It seeks to proffer disciplinary measures to members of the profession.
Other bills include establishment of a federal college of forestry Toungo by Senator Ahmad Abubakar and finally a bill to create the desert control and afforestation commission which will be responsible for the control and management of desertification.
The Sponsors are: Sen. Jalo Lawal Zarami (Yobe East), Sen. Sule Yari Gandi (Sokoto East) and Sen. Sanusi Dagash (Borno North).
While these bills are relevant to green living and promoting healthy environmental conditions, the aim to achieve this cause must commence from individuals within the society by planting a tree and stopping activities that can pose as a danger to the forests.
If we all plant a tree, we would grow a forest!
Additional reporting by Okafor Amarachukwu