Oyo Tree Planting Campaign Addresses Climate ChallengesNigeria
The role of tree planting advocacy in checkmating climate change was once again brought to the fore last week at the launch of the 2010 Tree Planting Campaign in Tede, a rural community in Atisbo Local Government Area in Oyo State. The event was under the auspices of the Community Link Advancement Programme (CLAP) and the British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF).
First Lady of Oyo State and Founder of the CLAP, Mrs. Oluwakemi Alao-Akala, stated that the event was the fulfillment of the pledge of CLAP to engage in massive awareness creation on issues bothering on the environment.
"Today, we are once again fulfilling our pledge of tree planting advocacy, as part of local initiatives and projects by CLAP," she stated.
She underlined the need for a balance between the socio-economic demands for forest products and the sustenance of the products to serve environmental protection purposes, saying, "We face a serious challenge of coming up with ways of meeting our human needs without continuing to hurt mother earth and afforestation is considered an important environment tool."
She challenged the appropriate authorities, especially in the Oke-Ogun area, where illegal logging interest thrives. "I want to suggest to the appropriate authorities to enact more stringent laws in the state against indiscriminate felling of trees and which will make it compulsory that when a tree must of necessity be felled, at least five to 10 times the number of the trees so felled should be planted in its place depending on the climate, soil conditions, and the geographical layout of the area."
She also commended the BATNF for its continued partnership in the fight against desertification and promotion of reforestation, noting, "BATNF remains our major partner in the tree planting advocacy and I must say that CLAP has enjoyed tremendous support from the Foundation in this direction."
Chairman of Atisbo Local Government Area, Alhaji Ismail Ademola Adedeji, described the climate change phenomenon as critical and one that must not be taken for granted. "This is a critical issue with the climate change that is becoming hostile to us. This year's theme of the World Environment Day is based on loss of biodiversity which is a serious signal of an endangered future if proper and quick interventions are not taken."
Executive Director of the BATNF, Gbenga Ibikunle, stated that the BATNF/CLAP initiative started in 2008, with the establishment of a 10-hectare Teak Tree Plantation in Shaki West Local Government and, that in 2009, the same was done in Surulere Local Government Area, both in Oyo State.
He stated, "Trees are known for promoting plant and animal bio-diversity, improvement of soil fertility, retardation of soil erosion and degradation, reduction in global warming through carbon soaking and are equally a source of raw materials and income."
He was also very hopeful of the impact the awareness campaign will have on environmental protection in the state. "It is our belief that this annual tree planting campaign will go a long way in creating awareness about the global environmental problems and also encourage tree planting as a way of solving some of them, he stressed."
The BATNF has also established tree plantations in Zamfara, Nassarawa, Jigawa and Yobe states, apart from its collaboration with CLAP in Oyo State.
The five-hectare Teak Tree Plantation in Tede is the third in Oyo State between CLAP and the BATNF.
The event was attended by the wife of Oyo State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Abiodun Arapaja, and the wives of other state government officials.
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