By Stanley Onyekwere
The FCT Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu yesterday flagged off 2020 tree planting campaign in Karshi, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), aimed at promoting healthy living environment.
Aliyu disclosed that Satellite Towns Development Department (STDD) has earmarked 48,000 assorted indigenous tree species to be planted in the six Area Councils, adding that 20,000 will be donated to foreign Embassies/High Commissions, FCT public and private schools, religious bodies among others.
She explained that Tree Planting campaign was an annual global event meant to create awareness amongst citizens on the need to sustainably manage forests for the purpose of meeting the developmental needs of the present generation without compromising the opportunity of future generations to manage theirs.
She further revealed that efforts are also being expended to promote the wide adoption of climate-friendly practices across the nooks and crannies of the Territory.
Speaking on this year’s theme “Forests and Biodiversity: Too Precious to Lose”, the Minister noted that this could not have been coined at a better time than now when all hands need to be on deck to ensure the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
According to her, “Goals 13 and 15 of the SDGs require all and sundry to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts; and protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”.
She, therefore, called on other relevant departments to, as a matter of urgency, join hands with the STDD in the re-vegetation of all open spaces, degraded hill tops and hill slopes, reclaim old burrow-pit as well as rivers and flood-prone areas to prevent and mitigate adverse environmental consequences in the satellite towns of the Territory.
In his remarks, the Ag. Coordinator of STDD, Engr. Felix Nwankwo, identified the environment as an asset to the present and future generations, hence the need for its sustainable management, noting that incidences of ecological and environmental disasters ravaging the entire globe are the direct consequences of man-made and natural factors.
Nwankwo, affirmed that trees in an environment are known to enhance the supply of oxygen to the atmosphere which serves as immunity booster to citizens thereby reducing the expected susceptibility to COVID-19 fatalities.
On his part, AMAC, Abdullahi Adamu Candido, who thanked the FCT Administration for the initiative, noted that it go a long towards improving the quality of life in the Territory.
Candido assured that elected officials and others stakeholders in the council and across the FCT will ensure that the message gets to the people at the grassroots level.
The AMAC Chairman while calling on the people especially those at the rural areas to key into the campaign, by imbibing the culture of tree planting within their communities.
The highpoint of the occasion was the planting of trees by the FCT Minister of State, some chairmen of Area Councils, heads of agencies, traditional and religious leaders across the six area councils of the Territory.