Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Aliyu Wamakko, has challenged the Forestry Association of Nigeria (FAN) to come up with resolutions that would checkmate the menace of rapid depletion of Nigerian forest resources.
This move, according to him, would help to restore the environmental and economic benefits of the country's forest resources.
Wamakko threw the challenge while declaring open the recent 35th annual conference of the association held at the conference hall of Sultan Muhammad Maccido Institute for Qur'an and General Studies, Sokoto.
He said his administration had since taken measures towards controlling the degradation of forest in the state
Wamakko, who was represented by the state Commissioner of environment, Dr. Muhammad Kilgori, said in order to address the problem, his government created the state ministry for environment in 2008 and employed 50 forest guards to monitor and enforce forest conservation laws and regulations.
According to him, the state government also embarked on sensitisation of people on the dangers of deforestation and the need for continuous planting of trees and the use of alternative fuel source.
He further stated that the government established over 200 kilometers of shelter belts as well as a 5.0 hectare Jatropha plantation and other plantations at roads sides, housing estates and resettlement schemes.
Wamakko disclosed that the state government was collaborating with national and international organisations in environment and ecosystem management intervention, adding that his administration established functional offices and working facilities at zonal forest offices at Isa, Tambawal and Sokoto.
The governor said the state government was engaged in the annual production of one million tree seedlings for the establishment of shelter belts, woodlots, farm and community planting and orchard.
He further stated that the state saw to it that each of the 23 local government councils in the state established 2 kilometres of shelter belts annually to forestall desertification.
Wamakko added that as a way to prevent clashes between farmers and herdsmen, his administration re-allocated 250 square kilometers of forest reserve in the state.
In a remark, the President Forest Association of Nigeria, Malam Saminu Ado, said the association initiated the idea of national tree planting campaign in 1981 in order to create awareness among the people on the need for afforestation.
He said the theme of this year's conference 'Forest industry in a dynamic global environment' was apt in view of the changing trends in the economies of different countries and the important roles that natural resources were expected to play.