Acting Governor of Kaduna state, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, has enjoined residents of the state to make planting and nurturing of trees a habit in order to combat climate change and desertification.
Dr Balarabe who flagged off a tree planting campaign for public schools within the Kafanchan Municipal Authority, said the exercise will complement government’s effort in making the state green.
She further stated that the state government has commenced a programme of planting five million trees before the end of the current administration because Kaduna state is listed among the 15 states affected by desertification.
The Acting Governor who bemoaned the habit of indiscriminate felling of trees, described tree planting campaign as significant because it is taking place in the area where one of the earliest man-made plantations in Nigeria is located.
According to Dr Balarabe, the Nimbia forest begun as a plantation in 1957 by the defunct Jema’a Native Authority, and planting continued up 1991.
“The plantation, as other forest reserves in Nigeria, is in a deplorable state now. There are indiscriminate felling of trees, poaching and even outright clearings for farming activities,’’ she added.
Dr. Balarabe who noted that the 1971-73 drought which occurred in some parts of the country, was as a result of the impact of desertification, adding that desertification still “continues to encroach upon us today. ‘’
She said that farming and grazing have become difficult as a result of desertification, because ‘’our eco-system is being adversely affected, biodiversity is being lost and host of problems. These, in turn, have contributed to high poverty rate in the northern part of Nigeria. ‘’
The Acting Governor pointed out that “trees give us fresh air and oxygen, provide cover against erosion, shade from heat waves, provide sources for medicines, capture and store atmospheric carbon dioxide (technically known as carbon sequestration).’’
According to her, trees also combat climate change, reduce noise pollution, maintain water balance on the earth surface, provide home for wildlife, food and fruits and give humans green, beautiful and serene environments.
Dr Balarabe commended Kafanchan Municipal Authority for focusing on tree planting in schools because “our young minds will grow up with the culture of appreciating trees and nurturing same.’’
‘’This is in addition to the immediate benefits of protecting our school buildings and environment which are constantly being damaged by storm winds and erosion,’’ she added.