The Minister for Environment, Dr. Muhammad Mahmood has reiterated commitment in achieving the target of planting 25 million trees through massive afforestation and collaboration with State governments and other critical stakeholders.
Dr Mahmood says the tree planting is line with the pledge made by the President at the just concluded United Nations General Assembly, UNGA.
He was speaking at the 13th meeting of the National Council on Environment, NCE holding in Kaduna.
Investing in environment
The Minister therefore urged the private sector to invest in the environment sector especially in waste management, watershed management, renewable energy, eco-tourism, green bond, reforestation, implementation of UNEP report, to clean up Ogoni land in the Niger Delta.
Dr Mahmood said; ”in spite of the numerous challenges associated to environment, government has demonstrated the political will and true commitment in reviving the Nigeria Project, especially in dealing with security menace.”
Spirit of nationalism
He admonished the different delegates at the meeting to be guided by the spirit of nationalism and remain objective in considering the merits or otherwise of submitted council memoranda by applying the appropriate criteria as it relates to the ERPG set targets.
Declaring the meeting open, the Kaduna State Governor, Nasiru El-Rufai said this year’s theme was apt, as advocacy is perhaps one of the strongest mechanisms in ensuring successful implementation of Environmental Laws and Policies.
“Due to the enormous environmentally related challenges Nigeria is facing, especially on how to address issues in a sustainable manner through engagement of relevant stakeholders, the Kaduna government is currently developing a well packaged and comprehensive advocacy programme.
“The programme is aimed at sensitising and mobilising both rural and urban communities to be aware of environment policies and laws and to act accordingly,” Governor El-Rufai said.
He stated that the State in collaboration with UNDP has developed a ‘State Policy on Environment’ which has been approved by the State Executive Council, to address environment challenges bedeviling the State.
According to him, the environment is the only home and the greatest asset given to mankind. “We owe a duty and responsibility to protect, nurture, conserve and harness the resources therein in a sustainable manner for the benefit of not only this generation but for generations to come.”
Governor El-Rufa was represented at the event by his Deputy, Hadiza Balarabe.
The State Commissioner of Environment and Natural Resources, Alhaji Ibrahim Hussaini thanked the Federal Ministry of Environment for choosing Kaduna as the venue for the 13th NCE.
He explained that the Environment is a complex, sensitive and fragile habitant for all living and non living organisms, hence, needs to be handled with great caution.
Hussaini said experts in the environment sector from both the Federal and State Ministries, NGOs and private sector had in the last two days worked tirelessly to discuss and prepare memo for council members’ consideration and approval.
“The deliberations were aimed at addressing the diverse environmental challenges bedeviling the Country,” he stated.
The Commissioner noted that, this year’s theme was well chosen in the realisation of the importance of advocacy as an instrument in achieving sustainable environment development.
“A comprehensive policy framework for engaging and educating stakeholders at all levels should be developed to understand and also be responsive to environment challenges around them,”he added.