The Calabar Green Carnival has been initiated to expand Nigeria’s carbon sink from 58 to 68 percent.
The Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade made the declaration shortly before flagging off the 3rd edition of the Calabar Green Carnival held at strategic locations within the metropolis.
The event, which usually held in December was moved to July due to the rainy season, which would ensure survival of the tree seedlings.
Governor Ayade, who also played host to his Abia State counterpart, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, said; “today we are doing the green carnival; we are planting one million trees. One million trees in the course of time is a complete reversal of deforestation.”
He explained that the chemical reactions of plants such as trees during photosynthesis gives vegetations the ability to absorb carbon dioxide, nothing the calculative combination of xanthophylls and chlorophyll that helps in the photosynthetic process that takes active absorption of carbon dioxide, which is a major factor responsible for green house warming and discharging in return oxygen in abundance for humans to breath.
According to him, “Cross River State will become the carbon dioxide sink, the headquarters of carbon dioxide absorption that is emitted into the atmosphere. You must note clearly that Cross River State has 58 percent of the entire forest cover in Nigeria, so, our strategy is to achieve 68 percent.”
Governor Ikpeazu of Abia State commended him for the initiative, which he stated would replace the 28 thousand trees, which would be felled due to the proposed construction of the super highway project.
He said; “planting 35 times the number of trees felled due to the super highway projects will put Cross River once again on the forest conservation global map. I congratulate you for putting Nigeria once again on the world map, but this time in terms of climate change and remediation thereof.”
“What you are doing today is to invest in the tomorrow of Cross River and indeed the future of Nigeria and the West African sub region. This event will attract the attention of the world.”
He urged everyone to participate actively in the tree planting exercise rather than compete for the prize money to be given to the winning MDA.
The Permanent Secretary of the State Forestry Commission and Ministry of Climate Change, Agbang Akwaji said that the state was home to 50 percent of Nigeria’s forest and one of the 25 biodiversity hotspot of the world.
He said; “in future, natures blessings to us will turnaround the face of our income. We foresee where Cross River State will float green bonds in the international stock exchange market in future. I see a situation where Cross River will be coming to the rescue of the world.
“For the first time, we have a forest policy that has been developed and has been subjected to stakeholders validation. Very soon, a clean copy will sent to the state executive council for ratification.”
The Chairman of the Calabar Green Carnival Committee, Alice Ekwu noted that the state was involved in the global effort to mitigate climate change and global warming.
Ekwu said; ”the carnival was to enable government drive home its tree planting drive, noting “Cross River is using the carnival to place emphasis on tree planting. All MDAs are participating in the carnival to win 5 million Naira star prize.
“We procured 40 thousand tree seedlings for planting. However, we are targeting two thousand tree using this carnival in Calabar. We need everyone to plant a tree wherever possible. We should be able to achieve One million trees in a few years.”
This year, about 2000 civil servants in the employ of the Cross River Government from all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, participated as revelers on the strategically selected carnival routes.