By Akeem Abas
Ibadan – An NGO, The Rural Environmental Empowerment (TREE) Initiative has signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) with the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria(FRIN) on the conservation of the forest.
The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that the MoU was signed at the institution by Dr. Shola Adepoju, the FRIN Director-General and the TREE Initiative founders.
Dr Oladapo Akinyemi, FRIN Research Coordinator told NAN that it was imperative for the institute to sign such MoU aimed at afforestation, agroforestry and re-vegetation.
“This is a welcome development from TREE Initiative. As a reputable institution vested with a mandate of conserving the forest, we will always partner organisations or groups with similar objectives,” he said.
Akinyemi, who said the MoU was in line with the institute’s mandate, stated that the implementation of the MoU takes immediate effect.
Mr Sola Kolawole and Mr Ropo Egbeleke, the Co-Founders of TREE Initiative appreciated the management of FRIN for considering the collaboration as important and strategic.
Kolawole, Executive Director, TREE Initiative told NAN that the NGO had since establishment advocated tree planting to mitigate the negative consequences of climate change occasioned by massive deforestation and desertification.
“The Goal 17 of the SDGs is ‘Partnership for the Goals.’ As we approach the 2030 date, it is important that we all come together to save our planet for future generations.
“For countries in the Tropics, it is collaborations like this between sincere Community Based Initiatives and State Actors that can help solve the climate change debacle and facilitate the achievement of the 2030 Agenda,” he said.
He said that deforestation was at the front burner of any climate change conversation or gathering, saying the World Bank at COP24 in Katowice, Poland has made a commitment to protect additional 120 million hectares of forests.
Kolawole urged Nigerian banks and organised private sector to support foremost institutions like FRIN and dedicated civil society initiatives working hard to restore depleted forests.
According to him, “the collaboration with FRIN will boost our advocacy in our core thematic areas such as Tree Planting, Food Security and Sustainable Livelihood.
“It will also enable the Nigerian public, particularly communities facing direct impact of these challenges to know that Federal Government through agencies like FRIN is making remarkable progress in the fight against deforestation and desertification.”
Egbeleke told NAN that the initiative was aimed towards planting and nurturing no fewer than 10 million trees by 2025 through a mix of afforestation programs and farmer-owned agroforestry projects.
He said the aim was to address the combined global challenges of deforestation, hunger and rural poverty.
Egbeleke said that the organisation has launched ‘One Student One Tree Project’ through a partnership with Ladoke Akintola University of Technology(LAUTECH), Ogbomoso.
“This is one avenue of achieving this medium term goal. We intend to carry the One Student One Tree Project advocacy to all tertiary institutions located in rural environments across the Nigeria over the next few years.
“We are also coming up with a Shea Tree Restoration Advocacy Program, an agroforestry propagation project in partnership with farmers, especially smallholder women farmers across the country.
“It is an initiative to save the Shea Butter Tree which supports the livelihood of about 500,000 women in Nigeria from extinction,” he said.