By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday called on the Federal Government and other tiers of governments in the country to fight the illegal felling of trees and poaching in Nigeria.
The former President who was speaking in Ibadan at the 42nd annual conference of Forest Association of Nigeria (FAN) which coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Association disclosed that this is to protect Nigerian forests and its abundant resources.
Represented by Deacon Sunday Agusa, Chief Obasanjo said the time has come for the people of this country to ensure that the nation does not lose its endangered species due to negilence of Nigerians
“We must ensure that we do not, arising from our negligence lose our endangered species. We must begin to harness, document and advance the innumerable benefits of our forests in solving contemporary health issues. We must begin to look at and devise means of protecting our forests from those who are concerned about today without iota of consideration for the resultant effects of their actions and inaction”, he said
The former Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC) Professor Julius Okojie while speaking tasked the Nigerian governments to without wasting time arrest the ongoing spate of deforestation ongoing in the country to avert negative effects of global warming and climate change.
Professor Okojie stressed that ” it is increasingly becoming difficult to check forest encroachment in Nigeria” hence the need for Forest protecting agencies should be equipped with the necessary tools to fight encroachments in the forest estates.
The former NUC Executive Secretary stated that strategies for protecting the forest against encroachment should involve holistic approach that will incorporate social and energy security of the people .
Identifying “inadequate policy and measures, weak law enforcement, and lack of transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s forest reserves administration as bane of the forest policy in the country, he stressed that the ” newly approved National Forest Policy 2018 is capable of addressing most of the challenges confronting growth and development of the sector”
” Nigeria’s forest is degraded, the sources of economic trees that produce timber, veneer log, fuel wood or the medicinal plants have been over exploited and degraded with some of the species under the threat of becoming extinct”.
Minister of Environment, Dr Muhammed Mahmoud Abubakar in his message cautioned against over exploitation of Forest and forest resources to avert future pandemic stressing that there is the need for holistic approach to protect forest and forest resources.
The Minister disclosed that the Federal was reviewing policy towards the effective governance and management of forests ans its resources.
In his welcome address, National President of FAN Alhaji Ahmad Rufai Ibrahim stated that the association will continue to work and engage relevant stakeholders towards engendering reforestation and stop unsustainable degradation of Forest and forest resources.
The Chairman National Organising Committee of the Forest Association of Nigeria (FAN) 42nd conference Associate Professor Nureni Adedapo Adewole maintained that the Nigerian forests and ecosystems are at the risk of unsustainable use, saying, forest resources have become useful even in the search for the cure of dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.
Emphasizing that “forest enclaves and her resources in Nigeria is suffering untold abuses in relation to utilization purposes, exploitation, management and monitoring”
Professor Adewole noted that Nigeria’s forests are presently being poorly managed and over exploited urging Federal government to evolve strategies of abating the wrong use of forest and its resources.