By Peter Uwumarogie
Gombe – Mr Ismail Bima, Chief Executive Officer of Jewel Environmental Initiative (JEI), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Gombe, has solicited the active participation of traditional leaders in the fight against desertification in the state.
The NewsnAgency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that JEI is in the forefront of the implementation of “Gombe Goes Green” Initiative.
Speaking to NAN in an interview in Gombe Tuesay, Bima observed that the continuous felling of trees in rural areas in the state was having an adverse effect on the environment and the ecosystem.
He saaid the federal or state government alone could not check the menace without support from traditional leaders.
According to him,the initiative of the State government in planting and establishing woodlots in communities would be successful only with the full involvement of traditional and community leaders.
He stated that such initiative was an opportunity for people to enrich their communities with trees,especially during the wet season.
“ The challenge in any environmental project is not only funding, it is more in sustainability.
“Whatever measures are put in place to mitigate environmental degradation will hardly yield the desired result if there is no grassroots support.
“ The state government has done the right thing at the right time because the issue of climate change is one reality that must not be ignored.
“ If traditional leaders are not involved in the state government project of tree planting, then the project is going to fail”, he said.
He cited an example of one such project in which the paramount ruler of Dukku played aplayed a vital role.
“He (Emir) provided land that is about 20 hectares, where over 17, 000 different types of trees were planted”.
“He had shown his commitment to sustaining the plantation and that would help because Dukku is among the desert-ravaged local government areas”, he said.
The officer said aside tree planting, the traditional leaders must also regulate the indiscriminate cutting down of trees, especially for commercial purposes.
Bima urged Organisations in the struggle against desertification to take up the challenge of creating awareness in communities to sensitise people on the dangers of indiscriminate felling of trees.
to the danger that the state faces with the constant tree felling activities in the state.
“We as NGOs must take it up to see that we do all that we can to mitigate the impact of desertification through sensitisation and discouragement of tree felling while advocating massive plating of trees.