By Muhammad Abdullahi, Abuja
The Federal Capital Terriory Administration (FCTA) says it will plant 170,000 tree seedlings across the territory in fulfilling President Muhammadu Buhari’s pledge to tackle desertification in the country.
The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello made the disclosure at the 2021 World Desertification and Drought Day and launching of FCT Tree Planting campaign, organised by the Department of Parks and Recreation on Thursday in Abuja.
The President at the 74th UN General Assembly promised that the Federal Government would plant 25 million trees as part of the overall climate change governance in collaboration with various stakeholders.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola, Bello said the administration was actively participating in actualising the pledge of Buhari through the department of parks and recreation and support from the Federal Ministry of Environment.
He said that tree planting was a great responsibility aimed at not only protecting and conserving environment for the future but also for improving its aesthetic beauty.
“This is particularly essential for Abuja, the capital city of our country where a green and well laid-out natural environment will further crystallise her image as one of the most beautiful cities in the world,” Bello said.
The minister said that about 20 NGOs and other stakeholders were actively participating in the planting of the tree seedlings across the FCT.
Bello said in recognition of the significance of conserving the environment, the FCTA, while formulating the 2019 FCT Park Policy, noted that the Abuja Master Plan provided about 33 per cent of land for parks, green areas and open spaces for recreation, tree planting and other such activities.
“However, over the years, this percentage diminished and therefore, in considering of the effects of climate change, the 2019 FCT Park Policy made the commitment that all subsequent layout designs in the FCT shall provide for not less than 33 per cent land for parks, green areas and open spaces for carbon sequestration.
“This indeed is a huge step by government in ensuring the protection of the environment and we pledge to continue to support all efforts aimed at sustaining this, ” Bello said.
Earlier, the Director, Parks and Recreation Department, Mrs Riskatu Abdulazeez said that desertification was increasing on alarming rate and it was being brought about by many factors principally, deforestation.
She said the department would continue to champion campaign against deforestation, saying “when we are able to combat desertification, drought will also be taken care of and our land will be restored.”
The director said the department had a mandate of planting trees in the cities and would collaborate with green-minded NGOs in planting trees to carry the exercise into the nooks and crannies of the FCT.
“As we are planting trees in the city, our collaborators are doing same at the area councils,” she said.