Lokoja — A coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) has called on government at all levels, institutions and individuals to support tree planting in Kogi State to tackle the challenges of climate change.
Kogi State Coordinator of Rural Wealth Foundation (RWF) and leader of the coalition, Mr. Ufana Husseini, made the call recently during a tree planting exercise to mark the 2018 Tree Planting Campaign in Lokoja, the state capital.
Mr. Husseini said the 2018 exercise, with the theme: "Mitigate the Impact of Climate Change and Improve Food Security," was aimed at guaranteeing 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-dependence to agriculture-oriented 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 food is taking a very bad risk," he said.
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 on the continent to advantage.
"In the rural areas, people are sitting on gold mines, but they are still prone to poverty and malnutrition leading to so many diseases such as anaemia among pregnant women and kwashiorkor in children," he said.
He said 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 the 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," he said.