The Niger State government has approved the constitution of a new, Special Task Force to fight deforestation in the state.
The permanent secretary, Ministry of Environment, Mr Lucky Barau, made this known while briefing the press at the Government House in Minna, the state capital.
He said the establishment of the task force team, code named “Crack Team” became necessary as a result of the incessant felling of trees for commercial charcoal production across the state which, he said, will in no distant time lead to environmental and health hazards to the state and its people.
Barau said team has been approved for each zone of the state to comprise about 2 to 3 persons in all the local government areas in the state to enable easy interception of illegal and commercial charcoal producers at every point within the state.
“Today, Niger state is ranked the highest producer of charcoal in commercial quantity which is not only consumed within the state but also exported to neighbouring countries. This is done at the detriment of the state and the future generation. It is robbing the future generation of the benefit it will have from natural resources,” he explained.
Barau said the state government, on its own part, is making arrangements to massively embark on planting of trees across the state as it has received about 1.7 million seedlings from the Forest Research Institute of Nigeria.
He also disclosed that the state government has banned charcoal production in the state as discussions are on with briquette producers in order to provide alternatives for the people.
The permanent secretary warned that anyone caught or linked with activities of charcoal production in the state will face the wrath of the law.
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