From Emmanuel Iyoho
The Federal Government has said it has successfully forested 6,191,363 hectares of land through the green bond project implementation, raised 6,550,056 seedlings and distributed to state governments and institutions.
The minister of state for environment, Sharon Ikeazor, disclosed this during a ministerial press briefing on the environment sector priority areas of the Federal Ministry of Environment in Abuja, recently.
Ikeazor, who also identified desertification in the North, flooding, coastal erosion in the South, deforestation, land degradation, pollution, loss of biodiversity and adverse impacts of climate change as environmental challenges facing Nigeria, said all the environmental degradations were adversely affecting the lives and livelihood of the people.
She said the Federal Government, under the Federal Ministry of Environment, has been working with development partners, line ministries, MDAs, NGOs and CSOs, to address and ameliorate these problems through policies, action plans and environmental regulations and projects.
According to her, some established policies that have supported the implementation of the ministry’s mandate, among others, are National Policy on Environment 2017,National policy on solid waste management 2020, National Policy on Plastic waste management 2020 and National Forestry policy 2019.
Others are: the national policy on climate change (revised 2021), National Biosafety Policy 2021, National Action plan on gender and climate change 2020, National Biosecurity policy and action plan 2022.
In the area of Afforestation, the minister said her ministry, courtesy of the national afforestation programme, under the green bond project, has successfully forested 6,191,363 hectares of land through the green bond project implementation.
She said the project implementation involved Forest Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), National NAGGW, Department of Desertification, land degradation and drought Management, National Parks Service (NPS), NGOs, state governments, private planters and international stakeholders.
Ikeazor said 6,550,056 seedlings were raised and distributed to state governments and institutions and planted by Forest Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), Federal Department of Forestry, Nigeria Conservation Foundation (NCF) and tree restoration and planting company in 2020, under the forestry trust fund initiative.
The minister acknowledged that the most significant action taken towards playing our role in climate change mitigation and adaptation was the signing of the Climate Change Bill into law by Mr President in November 2021.
He appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for his exceptional display of leadership and love for the future of the country by his signing of the Climate Change Bill into law.
She assured Nigerians that the Federal Ministry ofEnvironment would continue to strive in achieving the set mandates despite all challenges, while repositioning her agencies for effective implementation of policies, regulations and projects.
The minister of state, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, commended the Federal Ministry of Environment on the efforts and successes it has recorded in the area of recycling plants as well as with the green wall initiative where thousands of people are taken out of poverty here in Nigeria.
The minister advised the Ministry of Environment to focus more on expanding the energy grid, saying Nigeria must seek to expand its power generation through a low carbon path by making investments in clean modern energy and harnessing its renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, and mini-hydropower.
Sambo, however, commended the ministry, stressing that the Federal Ministry of Environment has done very well since the Buhari-led administration came to power.
According to him, as at 2015, about 35 percent of the total land area in Nigeria was affected by desertification, adding that since then, the Buhari Administration has rehabilitated over 1558 hectares of this degraded land, and in the process also, lifted over 8000 people out of poverty.
The permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Hassan Musa, while welcoming participants acknowledged the fact that environment was one of the most dynamic of all sectors in the life of humanity.
He said the concern for the protection of the environment gave rise to the creation of the Federal Ministry of Environment in 1999, to ensure effective coordination of all environmental matters, which were hitherto fragmented and domiciled in different line ministries.
Musa, however, maintained that the ministry has made considerable progress in addressing environmental concerns in the country, adding that this has been made possible through collaboration with other MDAs, states and local governments.