Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
The Kogi State Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Mr. Sanusi Usman-Yahaya, said the ministry had raised 27, 500 tree seedlings to be planted across the three senatorial districts of the state.
Yahaya disclosed this yesterday when he paid a visit to the state’s Nursery for Tree Seedlings at Okura in Dekina Local Government Area of the state.
According to the commissioner, the seedlings basically comprised of two species – 16, 000 Gmelina arborea and 11, 500 Tectonia grandis.
He said that the seedlings would be distributed for planting at some earmarked locations across the three senatorial districts of the state.
The commissioner added that the land area earmarked for the locations would be prepared in the next few weeks, to enable planting to take place in earnest, to boost the state’s afforestation drive. He said that tree planting would boost the state’s afforestation target, thereby protecting the environment against adverse climate change.
He added that trees also help to reduce soil erosion, improve soil stability and fertility, and serve as noise absorbers, as well as wind breakers.
He commended the ministry’s Forestry Department for directly raising the seedling at the state’s nursery.
“I am proud that we can raise the seedlings directly here by ourselves. We want to see that we produce enough seedlings for the ministry and to also give out to people to plant.
“Though there we are faced with challenges, but we will do our best to ensure we overcome them; we will motivate and encourage the department to do more,” he said.
He noted that the recently passed state’s Forestry Bill, waiting for the governor’s assent, would enable individuals to own a plantation through Public Private Partnerships.
The commissioner, however, warned against any illegal and indiscriminate cutting of trees, especially the ugly trend of charcoal production for commercial purpose.
He added that the state government would go after the defaulters and punish them, according to the law.
On her part, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs. Hannah Odiyo, said adequate measures had been put in place to protect the state’s forests.
“We have guards all over our forests, to apprehend anyone indulging in illegal felling of trees, and necessary action will be meted against defaulters,” Odiyo said.
On his part, the Director Forestry Department of the ministry, Mr. John Echu, commended the commissioner and his team for the visit, saying it would encourage them to work harder.