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Reclaim Our Forests from Criminals, Exploiters – FAN Appeal To Buhari

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The Chairman Board of Trust­ees of the Forestry Association of Nigeria (FAN), Chief James Bola Odebiyi, and the President of the association, Ahmad Ru­fai Ibrahim, have called on the Federal Government to rescue Nigeria’s forest estate from the hands of bandits, kidnappers and terrorists.

They made the call yesterday while speaking at the Interna­tional Day of Forests event, days after concluding its 43rd Annual Con­ference, where the duo noted that Nige­ria must jettison the jamboree which consumed the initiative of the association towards tree planting.

They noted that it is high time Nigeria was deliberate about tree planting in order to ensure sustainable development and reduce the impact of global warming on the country due to the deleteri­ous effects of deforestation.

Advising the gov­ernment, Chief Adebiyi said, “Con­tinuous rise in world popula­tion every year and the evil of human activities in the form of deforestation and pollution have made it difficult for the world community to observe the activities of every individual and the issue has always been of concern and provocative. We need to be more serious about sustaining our forests.”

On his part, the President of the Association, Alhaji Ibrahim, lamented that insecurity is af­fecting research and legitimate activities in the forest estates of Nigeria as hoodlums have taken over.

He urged government to res­cue and reclaim it from crimi­nals.

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“A dangerous trend that has bedeviled our forest estate today is the issue of insecurity in our forests. It started gradually in 2003 and today has become a hydra-headed monster that has made our forests worse-off. Our researchers could no longer access and the legal activities could not take place because hoodlums have taken over the forest estates,” he said.

On their part, the National secretary and assistant sec­retary, Professor Olukayode Ogunsanwo and Dr. Dapo Adewole, they said, “Nigeria’s forests are currently managed below international levels of standards, criteria and indi­cators thereby affecting neg­atively ecological, social and economic values of Nigeria with attendant environmental degradation, poverty, hunger and insecurity. Nigeria is facing non-sustainability problem of her forest resources.

There has been huge pres­sure on wood resource in making forests in Nigeria to be exposed to indiscriminate ex­ploitation of familiar economic woods.

“We need to secure our forest estate resources for sustainable development. Above all, hood­lums, bandits, kidnappers and terrorists have hijacked the forest space and unless flushed out, we may not have sustainable devel­opment.”

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests in 2012 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests.

Countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organise activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns.

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