By Friday Idachaba
Lokoja – A coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), on Friday called on governments at all levels, institutions and private sector, groups and individuals to support the awareness campaign for tree-planting.
Mr Ufana Husseini, Kogi Coordinator of Rural Wealth Foundation (RWF), and leader of the coalition made the call during a tree-planting exercise to mark the 2018 Tree-Planting campaign in Lokoja.
Husseini said the 2018 exercise with the theme: “Mitigate the Impact of Climate Change and Improve Food Security”, is to guarantee food security and safety of the earth for future generations.
The agricultural expert said there was need for the country to also embark on forestation of the environment in view of the effort to diversify the economy from being oil-dependent to being agriculturally oriented.
“The issue of tree planting is not only important but a necessity. People in the flood prone areas need to be sensitised and enlightened about the importance of tree planting.
“Tree planting can preserve homes and farmlands from being washed away by flood, thereby saving lives and property.
“Every nation, including Nigeria, needs to grow enough food for its citizens and rely less on imported food. Climate change is a global phenomenon and a nation that depends on imported food is taking a risk,” he said.
Husseini attributed the issue of poverty and malnutrition prevalent in Africa, especially in rural areas, to lack of knowledge to exploit the abundant natural resources on the continent.
“In the rural areas, people are sitting on `gold mine’ but they are still prone to poverty and malnutrition, leading to so many diseases such as anemia among pregnant women and Kwashiorkor in children.”
These, according to him, are deficiency diseases which vegetable consumption could easily control but still prevalent in rural areas due to lack of enlightenment and sensitisation.
He said that the coalition, in view of the prevailing circumstances of rapid deforestation and desertification of the environment, resolved to sensitise Nigerians on the gains of tree planting.
“We began with the formation of Climate Change Clubs in primary schools with hope for expansion to both secondary and tertiary institutions, to create awareness on the dangers of climate change and need for tree-planting.
“It is necessary to get them properly informed regarding the need for tree planting for carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration, food and erosion control,” he said.
The NGO coalition included, Rural Wealth Foundation (RWF) Justice, Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), MOM Orphanage, Rehoboth Communication Advancement Initiative.
Others were, Teens Educational Development Initiative (TEEDIN), Citizens Emancipation and Advocacy Trust (CEPAT) and Dual Communication Initiative.