Awka — The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has partnered with the Anambra State government and the management of Nnamdi Azikiwe University on ways to curb forest degradation in the state.
Officials of the three institutions met at Nnamdi Azikiwe University at the weekend to chart a way forward on how to conserve forests and also avoid practices that deplete forests in the state.
The stakeholders, during the two-day event on Forest-Landscape Restoration Action Plan organised by the NCF, in collaboration with Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), Awka Anambra State called on various communities and individuals to collaborate with them to curb deforestation and forest degradation in the state and Nigeria in general.
Participants at the workshop were drawn from representatives of the agricultural and environment sectors, civil society organisations, community leaders, students and the media.
Director-General of NCF, Mr. Muktari Aminu-Kano, in his address told participants that the event was organised to foster collaborations with various stakeholders to help stop the 'ugly consequences' of climate change.
Aminu-Kano, who was represented by the Director, Business Development and Communication, Mr. Uchenna Achunine, said that the foundation had also been influencing policies on environmental, nature, forest and ecosystem preservation, to persuade the government into action.
He said, "With increasing population, the effects of climate change are manifested through gully erosions in the South East, especially with the fragile nature of Anambra landscape.
"There is a lot of work to do to preserve our environment, hence the partnership with NAU to hold this workshop and develop a master plan on forest landscape restoration and commit to its full implementation in the state."
The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Charles Esimone who also participated in the workshop said the partnership with NCF would yield massive afforestation of 10 hectares of highly degraded zones as well as train over 40 forest patrol guards from the University.
According to Esimone, "The partnership has developed into structure for outreach to communities in Anambra and South East in areas of afforestation, natural resources conservation and eco-tourism."
Speaking on behalf of the Anambra State government, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Dr. Emma Okafor, lamented peoples attitude which has affected the environment negatively, warning that drastic measures has been put in place to check such misbehavior.
Participants at the end of the workshop pledged to fight factors militating against the environment, including indiscriminate dumping of refuse, excavation of land, flooding, land speculators, excessive destruction of 'evil forests'.