An ecologist, Mr Richard Inyamkume, has urged the Federal Government to increase the nation’s forest covers, saying that Nigeria was fast losing its forest cover to improper agricultural practices and logging activities.
Inyamkume, Executive Director, Ambassadors of Dialogue, Climate and Reintegration, an NGO, gave the advice in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
“Nigeria is facing serious environmental challenges ranging from unabated carbon emissions, deforestation, bush burning and improper waste disposal, among others, which adversely affects ecosystems and biodiversity.
“Among all of these, deforestation requires urgent attention to be addressed as the nation is fast losing its forest cover to improper agricultural practices and logging activities, as well as domestic dependence on forest resources.
“I have observed with dismay that a substantial number of citizens still do not know the impending dangers or consequences of deforestation.
“This is why they engage in illicit trees felling thereby exacerbating global warming and loss of extinct species,” he said.
The ecologist underscored the need to enlighten citizens about the importance of forests to life, especially endangered species.
According to him, trees assist in purifying the atmosphere by absorbing carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, while giving out oxygen in return.
“It also serves as habitat for millions of species and still benefits ecosystems in so ways.
“It is imperative to increase Nigeria’s forest cover, especially now it is glaring that loss in forest cover is affecting the environment and climate.
“There is need for concerted efforts and collaboration between government and civil society to beep up enforcement of laws that seek to protect and conserve forests and wildlife,” he said.
Inyamkume said that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) needed to hold government accountable for the depletion of forests and as well discourage citizens from engaging in unwholesome practices in the nation’s forests.
“We need to engage in continuous advocacy, enlightenment campaigns, training of tree fellers and forest users, including women, to reduce overdependence and overexploitation of forest resources to save extinct species.
“Those that have the opportunity to travel to different parts of the country have a story to tell about ongoing massive deforestation, especially northern Nigeria, where climate change impacts are already worsening environmental conditions.
“Illicit agricultural and logging activities have resulted to disappearance of green parks that used to serve wildlife and species across the nation,” he said.
According to him, there is need to act now and save the nation.
“Our actions should consider mainstreaming green conservancy in school curriculums and get children involved in tree planting,” he added.