A Gombe-based NGO, Jewel Environmental Initiative (JEI), on Tuesday advised residents of Gombe State to seize the opportunity of the wet season to plant more trees in the state.
Mr Ismail Bima, the NGO’s Chief Executive Officer, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Gombe, said with the growing threat of desertification, collective effort was needed to reverse the menace.
Bima said that desertification posed a “very serious challenge to Gombe State, the country and even the world and the pace of land degradation and the impact of climate change are pointers that we need more trees.’’
He said tree planting had proven to be one of the best strategies in the effort to halt desertification and “that’s why the state government has embarked on massive planting of trees, raising and reviving nurseries”.
He said that with such efforts from the state government under the ‘Gombe Goes Green (3G)’ initiative, communities, especially in Dukku, Funakaye, Nafada, and Kwami should complement the tree-planting project to support government.
“The rains are here and as farmers and residents plant their crops, we must also plant trees. It should not be the work of the state government and NGOs only to plant trees.
“Communities and residents must plant trees in their farmlands and houses as these will help improve the environment and provide the so many benefits that come from trees.’’
According to him, JEI has planted thousands of tree seedlings in schools and communities and we are still planting because we want our environment to be cared for.
He noted that agro-forestry which involved growing trees in farmlands by farmers was a good strategy to improve soil and water conditions and increased resilience to droughts and floods.
He commended Gov. Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe State for initiating the 3G project to plant one million trees every year, adding that with proper implementation, Gombe State would be greener in the future.
Bima also advised communities in Gombe State to protect their forest and communities by discouraging indiscriminate felling of trees as well as allocating lands for massive tree planting exercise.
He also appealed to residents to embrace environment-friendly alternative energy sources of cooking.
Bima said this would reduce the pressure on wood for cooking purposes, which was the biggest reason for indiscriminate tree felling in rural communities across the state and beyond. (NAN)