The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), has flagged-off the 2019 FCT Tree Planting Campaign to mark the 25th anniversary of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.

The Permanent Secretary of the FCTA, Sir Christian Ohaa said, it is imperative that the present and coming generation of Nigerians recognise the dangers of desertification and drought and come together to combat it.

Sir Ohaa stated that the event was intended to draw global attention to the United Nation’s Convention to Combat Desertification.

He also urged construction companies and housing developers, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to make provisions for replacement of felled trees as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Environmental Challenges
According to him, desertification remains one of the biggest and most serious environmental challenges of global proportions, noting that it affects all regions of the world and is characterised by the degradation of land in arid and semi-arid and sub-humid areas.

“The effects of desertification are equally serious and devastating because it primarily reduces the ability of land to support and sustain life. Desertification ensures that the land becomes less usable.

Vegetation is lacked or damaged and famine inevitably occurs. Other effects include, increased gully erosions, sand storms, migration and death,” he explained.

Sir Ohaa enjoined residents of the FCT to join the campaign to combat desertification and drought to help prevent desertification from occurring in the first place; adding that one of the most effective ways is by planting of trees.

Carbon Emissions
Speaking earlier, the President of the 09 Bikers Motorcycle Club (09MC), Barrister Austin Mbamah said the Club recognises its contribution to carbon emissions arising from its use of fossil fuel and would introduce The 09MC Tree Planting Campaign (‘The Campaign’) to mitigate the impact of its activities on the environment.

“The Club has decided to plant 1000 trees in the FCT, commencing on the 17th of June 2019 which happens to be the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought,” Mbamah stated.

He further explained that “Climate change is a global phenomenon and our city and country is not an exception. Global warming is on the increase annually as a result of our activities as humans, which have negative impacts on the environment, including riding sports bikes. It is only the decent thing to leave this world better than we met it so that future generations can have, if not same, a better quality life, as we”.

Barrister Mbamah noted that the theme for the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought ‘Let’s grow the future together’, resonates with the 09MC’s objective of environmentally safeguarding the future.

“Burning of fossil fuel which powers our sports bikes releases carbon and toxicants to the atmosphere which contribute to global warming and pose threats to our health. Trees on the other hand release oxygen which we as humans and other creatures require to survive. There is no gain saying therefore, that what we are doing today has a direct bearing on our community”.

“It is our hope that as an organisation what we are doing here today will be a continuous activity. We breathe in air daily; we will plant trees for as long as we ride” he stated.

Tree Planting
Earlier, the Acting Coordinator of Abuja Metropolitan Management Council (AMMC), Mr. Mohammed Suleiman, noted that Nigeria, including the FCT have been making progressive efforts to address desertification and drought through the annual tree planting exercise.

He further stated that this year’s event would engender some positive environmental changes that would ensure a better and more natural life for all.

In a pre-event press briefing, the Director Parks and Recreation Architect Ali Ukele said the tree planting will be carried out on the following routes : Kubwa road, Nnamdi Azikiww Express Way, Wise Zone rand possibly the Airport Road.

He further stated that they hoped that Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) would be achieved and will provide a solid basis for poverty reduction food and water security and climate change mitigation.