A coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), has called on government at all levels, institutions, private sector, groups and individuals to support the tree planting awareness campaign.
Mr Ufana Husseini, Kogi Coordinator, Rural Wealth Foundation (RWF) and leader of the coalition, made the call during a tree planting exercise to mark the 2018 Tree Planting campaign in Lokoja.
The 2018 tree planting has its theme as: “Mitigate the Impact of Climate Change and Improve Food Security.”
According to Husseini, the aim is to guarantee food security and safety of the earth for future generations.
The agricultural expert said there was need for the country to also embark on forestation of the environment in view of the effort to diversify the economy from oil-dependent to agriculture-dependent one.
“The issue of tree planting is not only important but a necessity. People in the flood prone areas need to be sensitised and enlightened about the importance of tree planting.
“Tree planting can preserve homes and farmlands from being washed away by flood, thereby saving lives and property.
“Every nation, including Nigeria, needs to grow enough food for its citizens and rely less on imported food.
“Climate change is a global phenomenon and a nation that depends on imported foods is taking a very big risk”, .
Husseini attributed the issue of poverty and malnutrition prevalent in Africa, especially in rural areas, to lack of knowledge to exploit the abundant natural resources in the continent to advantage.
“In the rural areas, people are sitting on gold mine but they are still prone to poverty and malnutrition leading to so many diseases such as anemia among pregnant women and Kwashiorkor in children.”
These, according to him, are deficiency diseases which vegetable consumption could easily control but still prevalent in rural areas due to lack of enlightenment and sensitisation.
He said that the coalition, in view of the prevailing circumstances of rapid deforestation and desertification of the environment, resolved to sensitise Nigerians on the gains of tree planting.
“We began with the formation of Climate Change Clubs in primary schools with hope for expansion to both secondary and tertiary institutions to create awareness on the dangers of climate change and need for tree planting.
“It is necessary to get them properly informed regarding the need for tree planting for carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration, food and erosion control”,.
The coalition includes: Rural Wealth Foundation (RWF) Justice, Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) and MOM Orphanage, Rehoboth Communication Advancement Initiative.
Others are, Teens Educational Development Initiative (TEEDIN), Citizens Emancipation and Advocacy Trust (CEPAT) and Dual Communication Initiative.