The President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to the people of Kaduna state and the entire country to embrace the green revolution which is initiated by the Kaduna state Governor, Nasiru El Rufai to improve the country’s environment.
Muhammadu Buhari said this in Kaduna during the flagging off ceremony of the ‘Keep Kaduna Green,’ which took place at the Kaduna state University of Science and Technology Auditorium, pointing out that improving on the country’s environment is one of the six core objectives and pillars of the change agenda.
The President who was represented by the Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, painted a gloomy picture of how about 500 million trees are lost annually, putting the country in grave danger of fast desertification occasioned by erosion thereby posing great danger to the environment and to the economy of the country.
Amina Mohammed revealed that the country’s forest which was initially put at about 7% is now about less than 5% according to the United Nations report, adding that, apart from deforestation, grazing and bush burning equally affects the ecosystem.
She reiterated the need for collective response with prompt urgency to correct the human created anomaly in order to make our environment more conducive for ourselves and the generation that will come after us by massively embarking on tree planting.
The Environment Minister stated that the President is happy with initiative and commended the Kaduna state Governor for taking bold steps to introduce the ‘Keep Kaduna Green’ project, saying that, the environment is key in the diversification of the country’s economy.
She maintained that apart from the beauty and improved rainfall, it will also help the country in its quest to eradicate poverty and call on the Governor and the people of Kaduna to ensure sustainability in financing the project and tasks stakeholders to be actively involved by showing commitment and positive will for the project to succeed.
In his speech, the Kaduna state Governor who is the initiator of the ‘Keep Kaduna Green’ project said trees play a crucial role in human lives.
The governor maintained that, apart from fruits and shade, trees also beautifies our towns and cities, provides food, shelter, fuel, water sources, soil stability, creates wealth and the environment.
Nasir El’ Rufai lamented that trees are felled indiscriminately without replanting, thereby, exposing the environment to easy erosion and desert encroachment. He pointed out that if concerted effort is not immediately put in place, the beauty of the environment would be lost and it would be difficult for economic activities to thrive.
He reiterated that, his administration is determined to stop desert encroachment, explaining that, proper enlightenment machinery have already been put in place to sensitize and mobilize all communities in Kaduna state to key into the project.
The Governor maintained that priority will be given to economic trees, pointing out that the state government will continuously provide the seedlings and the nursery that will carter for the ‘Keep Kaduna Green’ project until the target of the three million trees is achieved
Accordingly, El’ Rufai disclosed that the project will provide job for about 26,000 youths and women in the state. He also stated that all the 23 local councils in the state have already been mandated to plant about 65,000 trees so that before the end of the remaining three years, about three millions trees would have been planted in Kaduna state. He added that, he has given directive that no building plan will be approved in the state without adequate provision of flowers and trees. He asserted that in every 900 square meters, there must be provision for about four trees.
The Kaduna state Governor challenged the people of the state and indeed the country to embrace the project to help meet up with the United Nations forest requirement of about 25%, just like the ‘Green Belt Movement’ that was started by late Wangari Masai in Kenya.
Speaking on road construction, Governor El’ Rufai stated that, the Yakubu Gowon Way which is among the busiest roads in Kaduna will be dualized as well as the Muhammadu Buhari Way and added that there is a plan to construct a ring road that would link the East to the Western part of the metropolis.
Delivering his goodwill message during the flagging off of the ‘Keep Kaduna Green’ project, the Governor of Taraba, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku commended his Kaduna state counterpart, Nasir El’ Rufai for the wonderful vision to re-enact the ‘Keep Kaduna Green’ project and noted that nothing is as beautiful when an environment is very green. He explained that only green world can stop desertification and erosion apart from being a viable source to earn revenue for the country.
Darius Ishaku stated that when he was in the Ministry of Environment, special concept was on the pipeline geared towards embarking on revitalizing the environment with particular emphasis on tree planting campaign in order to stop desertification and erosion and posited that some northern states are facing the problem of desert encroachment while the southeast and south south is faced with the problem of erosion.
He maintained that the right time to massively embark on tree planting is now and stated that Taraba state will also come up with a similar project and asserted that there is nothing worth protecting like the environment, because, when the environment is well catered for, it is amazingly beautiful and everything on it will also be beautiful. The governor added that, tree planting should be vigorously pursued, maintained and sustained throughout the country.
Darius Ishaku then used the occasion to suggest to the Kaduna state Government on the need to construct a road connecting the western and eastern parts of Kaduna to reduce the heavy vehicular traffic that has been causing hardship to motorists.
Good will messages were also received from the Governor of Jigawa, Minister of Environment, Kenyan Ambassador to Nigeria, Ghanaian Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, IDC, and DFID, all focusing their attention on the importance of tree to human existence such as being a symbol of peace, healthy environment, means of shelter, medicine, source of food to both human and animals, protecting the environment, sources of revenue and guarding against climate change among others.
High points of the flagging off ceremony are as follows; drama presentation on the importance of trees to the environment staged by the Kaduna state cultural troupe, special tribute to late Safari Masai of Kenya who initiated the ‘Green Belt Movement’ in Kenya which earned her a Nobel Peace prize and the planting of trees within the environment of the Kaduna state University of Science and Technology led by the Kaduna state Governor, Nasir El Rufai.