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Environment experts want FG to intensify National Afforestation Programmed implementation

Some environment experts in the South-East zone of the country have urged the Federal Government to intensify the implementation of the National Afforestation Programmed (NAP) in the zone and the country.

The experts who made the call in a survey on NAP expressed concern that non – implementation of the programmed had seriously affected its objectives in the country.

In Abia, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Mr Iheanyichukwu Ubani, said activities of ”tree poachers” and inadequate manpower to enforce the government’s forest laws posed a major challenge to the government’s afforestation programmed in the state”.

Ubani said the ministry was intensifying efforts to squarely address the issue.

According to him, the implementation of the Federal Government’s National Afforestation Programmed was skewed in favour of a few states in the Federation.

Ubani described the programmed as laudable and good but noted that its implementation had threatened Federal Government’s objectives.

He underscored the need for the Federal Government to adopt a new and all-inclusive approach to ensure effective implementation of the programmed nationwide.

“I advocate that the Federal Government adopts a more effective strategy to monitor the programmed implementation to ensure its success in the overall national interest,’’ Ubani said.

The Permanent Secretary asserted that the state government initiated realistic measures to boost biodiversity through its tree-planting programmed.

Ubani said the government-owned 19 forest reserves and had successfully raised a nursery with 10,000 seedlings of exotic and indigenous trees and shrubs.

He said the ministry had begun the distribution of the seedlings to communities across the state.

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According to Ubani, the state government’s target is to raise two million tree seedlings.

The permanent secretary affirmed that afforestation was vital to effective mitigation of the negative impact of indiscriminate tree felling and ozone layer depletion on the environment.

“We are determined to make Abia become rich in biodiversity and we are not left out in the comity of states implementing the afforestation programmed,” he said.

Ubani said the state government, in partnership with Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), had conducted several public enlightenment seminars on the importance of tree planting.

He said the programmed was focused on encouraging the public to appreciate the need to plant five trees to replace any tree felled.

Mr James Eze, South-East Coordinator of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Enugu State, said that a way of promoting afforestation and sustainable environment in the zone was by continuous planting of trees by residents.

Eze noted that negative developments and actions leading to de-forestation within the zone had exposed the zone to lots of erosion, gullies and the creation of “big gulfs’’ in some communities.

He, however, said that the zone did not have a coordinated plan to remediate the environment for now.

“It is left for individual residents and communities to have a plan of action and what should be accepted in their environment or neighborhoods,” Eze said.

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