By Peter Uwumarogie
Gombe – Jewel Environmental Initiative (JEI), an NGO has called on Gombe State Government to enact stronger environmental laws to stop the indiscriminate felling of trees to check threat of desertification in the state.
Mr Ismail Bima, the Chief Executive Officer of the NGO told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Gombe that the legislation had become imperative to protect the environment.
Bima said that with the increasing rate of felling trees for fuel wood, the state government’s effort to plant four million trees could be threatened if nothing proactive was done.
According to him, it is sad to see that in spite efforts of the state government and other major stakeholders in planting trees and creating awareness on the dangers of tree felling, people still cut down trees.
He noted that a lot of awareness programmes were on-going but insisted “we need the laws to ban or regulate tree cutting before the worst happens and you know it takes time for trees to grow.’’
“Most of our residents, especially in rural communities and few in the city use firewood. It is as if these residents have declared war on our environment.
“This is a serious threat. Our environment is going naked. No more trees. We can’t afford to live this way. The sad news is that the effect of this action is felt by the world.
“This is not just about Gombe State because the environment is a network that triggers climatic change across the earth. So what you do in Gombe will contribute to global effect,’’ he said.
He added that the current environmental laws should be reviewed to address contemporary demands, adding “if you are fined N2, 000 for cutting down a tree and you make N10, 000 from such act, where are we?’’
“The worst is that, there are no more old trees. People now harvest fresh trees that are yet to mature and this means those trees that are to sustain the future are now being cut,’’ he said.
While appealing to all stakeholders to strengthen efforts toward the provision of more alternative cooking sources, Bima charged NGOs and relevant agencies to intensify awareness campaign to discourage felling of trees.