Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The federal government and the 36 governors of the federation have agreed to plant over 25 million trees across the country.
This was the high-point of the meeting between the governors and the Minister of Environment, Mr. Mohammed Mahmoud Abubakar, which was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s pledge to plant 25 million trees.
Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, told reporters thursday in Abuja after the governors’ meeting that the minister had highlighted that Buhari’s pledge was in line with Nigeria’s commitment to its obligation under the Paris Agreement.
He said: “State governors commended the Ministry of Environment for driving this initiative. Members pledged to work with the ministry by ensuring that the right institutional arrangements are in place in all states to ensure that each state supports the tree planting initiative.
“Governors agree that states should demarcate areas and gazette them as forest reserves. Governors also addressed the planting of trees that animals do not consume to ensure the sustainability of the forests. This will ensure that state governments get the economic, social and environmental benefits Nigeria’s forests provide.”
The governors, he said, were briefed by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, on the Geo-Referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development (GRID3) programme, designed to strengthen the application of geospatial data for evidence-based decision making in the country.
The chairman of the NGF, said the minister also highlighted several applications of the programme in priority areas of government policies, including food security, health coverage, financial inclusion, survey and demographics and education.
According to Fayemi, governors commended the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for coordinating the GRID3 programme, which will be central to development planning going forward.
He added that the governors pledged to work with the ministry by providing the right institutional arrangements in all states
to ensure that each state supports the generation and management of geospatial data.
He explained that this will ensure that state governments have the right information in identifying where people live and how critical services can be most equitably and effectively allocated.
Fayemi said the governors also received a presentation from the Senior Special Adviser to the President on the Presidential Enabling Environment Council (PEBEC), Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, who briefed them on the activities of the council on the Ease of Doing Business at the Subnational Level.
He quoted the presidential aide as saying that some states have already keyed into the project while results have been impressive.
He said they also received a presentation from Hypertech Nigeria Ltd on the 3,050MW Mambila Hydro Electric Power Project (MHEPP), explaining that the team highlighted that the project was executed between the Federal Government of Nigeria and Chiha Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC).
According to him, the team gave an overview of the huge potential that is lying fallow in the Mambilla region, which govemors appreciated but insisted that a presentation by the Ministers of Power and Water Resources would provide more information on what to be done.