By Isaac Ukpoju
Lafia – Nasarawa State Government has engaged more than 1,500 youths to guard against illegal felling of trees and other activities that can deplete the state’s forest resources, Mr Gabriel Aka’aka, the Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, announced.
The commissioner made the announcement at a news conference in Lafia on Wednesday.
Aka’aka said the move was part of the state government’s effort toward implementing World Bank-assisted programme on Reducing Emission Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) in the state.
He explained that REDD+ programme was aimed at reducing greenhouse emission and mitigating the effects of climate change.
According to him, the project will check depletion of forest resources through afforestation and sustain
existing forest reserves.
He said it would go a long way to prevent flooding and control soil erosion.
The commissioner noted that the state government had paid its counterpart fund for the programme, designed to run for eight years.
He added that government had also provided a befitting office complex, as well as inaugurated a steering committee to facilitate smooth take-off of the programme.
According to him, a technical committee and state project management unit for the programme will soon be inaugurated for successful implementation of the project.
“We have commenced stakeholders engagement and community sensitisation around forest reserves designated for the programme in the state,’’ Aka’ka said.
He said three forests have been designated for the pilot scheme of the programme in Wamba, Nasarawa-Toto and Obi Local Government Area of the state.
“We have been educating community stakeholders about the importance of the programme and the need for them to support efforts at revamping the forest by not farming and grazing in designated locations.
“These community engagements have so far yielded positive results.”