Vice President Namadi Sambo yesterday inaugurated the National Council on Shelterbelt and Afforestation, with a promise that all issues regarding ecological problems in the country must be speedily addressed.
Sambo who is also the Chairman of the Council, while chairing its maiden meeting at the presidential villa, Abuja, charged members to put in their best to ensure the success of the activities of the Council.
"Mr. President has directed that this project must be taken very seriously and diligently", he said, recalling that the Council was set up on January 19, 2004 and that with the coming on stream of the Great Green Wall initiative in 2005, the Council became dormant.
Sambo said, "With the launch of the Programme in Nigeria, the National Council for Shelterbelt, Afforestation, Erosion Control and Coastal Zone management became dormant as its afforestation functions were carried out by the Presidential Afforestation Initiative, mandated to carry out the Great Green Wall programme, which is now desirous of urgent attention in view of the time lag since inception.
"As a wake up action the Federal Executive Council decided to resuscitate the Council for Shelterbelt and Afforestation and its underlying institutional arrangement, the programmes and activities that will be put in place to achieve the National and by extension sub-regional objectives".
Accordingly, he directed the Ministry of Environment, which is the Secretariat of the Council to prepare a comprehensive Work plan of activities with specific timelines of implementation.
The vice president stressed the need for adequate sensitisation of the programme and its objectives, even as he directed that the private sector and some notable personalities be co-opted in the membership of the Council.