Segun Awofadeji in Gombe
Gombe State Governor, Alhaji Inuwa Yahaya yesterday disclosed that his administration would plan 1.2 million trees before December to combat land degradation, desertification and erosion, among others.
Inuwa disclosed the plan at the unveiling of the 2020 Gombe Goes Green (3G) Tree Planting Campaign in Wajari District of Yalmatu Deba Local Government Area of the state.
After unveiling the project, the governor said that his administration would commit to making environmental sustainability the cornerstone of its development agenda.
He, also, said the state government would continue “to enhance and protect the ecological system upon which all lives and livelihoods depend. My administration unveiled the project with the aim of planting 1.2 million trees annually for a period of four years.”
He said through aggressive afforestation and reforestation, the 3G project would combat land degradation, desertification, erosion, loss of soil nutrients and rehabilitate degraded land.
He explained that since the launch of the project, the state had achieved significant milestones in the establishment of eight 20-hectare woodlots in nine local government areas and planted over 20,000 trees along the major roads within Gombe metropolis.
He explained that the state “has over the years spent huge amounts of its resources in controlling gullies that threatened social life and physical infrastructure in the metropolis and other local government areas.”
He said the unwavering commitment of his administration to environmental sustainability had inspired the state to initiate the largest and most comprehensive environmental restoration project in the Northeast.
Inuwa said his administration’s resolve to prioritise and preserve the environment was necessitated by the realisation of the severity and diversity of the environmental challenges confronting the state.
“Gombe is one of the frontline states that is threatened by rapid desert encroachment. Available evidence shows that about two-thirds of our entire state is facing various forms of land degradation such as desertification, deforestation and other negative effects on agricultural productivity leading to declining crop yield”.
He lamented that deforestation “is a major driver of both desert encroachment and erosion in Gombe state. During the last four decades, it is estimated that we have lost between 65 and 96 percent of our entire forest cover due to firewood and charcoal extraction, agricultural expansion and urban growth among other factors.
“As a result of years of unabated deforestation, our state has lost exotic indigenous tree and animal species, witnessed dangerous disruption of carbon and water cycles and loss of livelihoods, especially in our rural communities that depend directly on those resources.”
Inuwa said he had already approved the distribution of 200, 000 seedlings to some selected groups and members of the public who wanted to support the state government to combat the menace of environmental decline as a way of intensifying and expanding the tree planting exercise to include social forestry and agroforestry.
He said the state government would commence extensive tree planting in schools, hospitals and public buildings across the state in addition to planting along major roads and areas threatened by erosion as well as in barren and degraded lands.
Earlier speaking, the Commissioner of Environment and Forestry Resources, Dr. Hussaina Danjuma Goje said that during the last one year, the governor had kept the project close to his heart by giving the ministry all the needed support and resources to actualise its mandate.
She disclosed that Gombe State had secured a partnership with Forest Research Institute of Nigeria to plant 2 million trees in one year.
The project coordinator, Gombe Goes Green, Dr. Muazu Shehu thanked the governor for being an honest friend of the environment.
He disclosed that over 22, 000 economic trees would be planted in the woodlot plantation site in Yamaltu Deba Local Government area.