By Grace Alegba
Lagos – The Director-General of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Dr Muhtari Aminu-Kano, on Wednesday in Lagos appealed to Nigerians to cultivate the habit of planting trees to commemorate special anniversaries in their lives.
Aminu-Kano made the appeal during the planting of 30 trees at the NCF Family Park in Lekki located within its premises by IBTC Bank to commemorate its 30th anniversary.
He added that it would also help to restore the nation’s depleted forest cover.
He said that Nigeria had lost 94 per cent of her forest cover and all hands must be on deck to reverse the trend through sustained planting of trees.
He commended the bank and appealed to other Nigerians, corporate organisations and the three tiers of government to emulate the gesture to restore the nation’s forest cover.
“This is something I will recommend to every Nigerian; to plant trees to commemorate special events in their lives because trees are long lasting and you remember that event whenever you see such trees.
“If you have an occasion to commemorate whether marriage, the birth of a child, jubilees, any birthday or landmark event, plant trees.
“I commend what the bank is doing and they have promised to replicate the planting in the six geo political zones of the country.
“I hope the public, companies and governments can do more to take to this habit of planting trees in hundreds,’’ he said.
Aminu-Kano said that NCF as part of its Green Recovery Nigeria initiative would continue to plant trees even in some forests that need regeneration.
“We can never get tired of planting trees. Even in a forest, there are places where you will need natural enrichment due to natural processes that some trees go through and die. And sometimes there is the need to assist the forest to recover,’’ he said.
He lamented how flooding had been affecting some trees in the Lekki Conservation Centre due to eastward ocean current causing erosion.
He said that this had continued to threaten the existence of the entire NCF.
He appealed to the Federal Government to support the Lagos State Government in combating the problem by building more groins.
He lamented the sharp drop in the nation’s forest cover to less than six per cent and called for sustained efforts by stakeholders to save the nation’s environment.
“We think that it is pitiful that the amount of land in Nigeria that is forested has moved from 40 per cent in the 1960s to arguably below six per cent.
“And the international standard which Nigeria signed up to is that a country should aim to have a minimum of 25 per cent of its area covered in forest; so we have a long way to go.
“And we have to plant as many trees as possible; we are doing an exercise now with government and other stakeholders to identify which are the right trees that should go to the right places, in the right numbers, at the right time.
“We are losing 350,000 hectares of forests every year in Nigeria and we need to catch up by planting enough to not just replace the ones we are losing but pick up and try to hit that target of 25 per cent,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that two species of trees: the African mahogany and Ijebu Mahogany were planted.
Mr Adeyemo Olayomade, NCF’s Conservation Assistant, explained that the two species were chosen because both were hard wood of the same family, ever green and medicinal.
NAN reports that IBTC Bank was established in 1989.