In a concerted effort to combat deforestation in Northeast Nigeria, stakeholders in Bauchi State have put forth a series of guidelines and recommendations aimed at preserving the environment.
During a one-day stakeholders engagement on environmental policies and practices organized by the Sharing Education and Learning for Life (SELL) Foundation Nigeria, government officials, environmental health officers, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), and the media came together to address the pressing issue.
A 12-point communique was issued at the conclusion of the meeting on Saturday, July 15, and made available to journalists on Sunday, emphasizing the critical importance of adhering strictly to government-established environmental guidelines and regulations.
The stakeholders unanimously agreed that safeguarding the environment and protecting citizens from harm is both a social obligation and a fundamental right.
Among the proposed measures, they called for the implementation of robust legal instruments, policies, and actions that prioritize environmental and climate-conscious practices.
They highlighted the need for proactive measures by agencies responsible for forest preservation, urging them to be vigilant in their efforts.
“Agencies saddled with the responsibilities of safeguarding the forest should be proactive in the course of protecting the forest,” the communique said.
To curb the depletion of forests, the communique suggested allocating land specifically for charcoal and timber businesses, allowing individuals interested in these ventures to engage in sustainable planting, raising, and harvesting practices.
“Government should provide land for people interested in charcoal and timber business to plant, raise and harvest them for their use,” the communique proposed.
Furthermore, it was recommended that state borders be effectively monitored to prevent unauthorized individuals from engaging in charcoal and timber activities.
Recognizing the crucial role of tree planting, the stakeholders emphasized the significance of nurturing trees to maturity across all 20 local government areas in the state.
They stressed the importance of inculcating environmental consciousness in young minds by introducing tree planting and environmental safety campaigns in nursery and primary schools. The establishment of environmental clubs within educational institutions was also encouraged.
“Campaign on tree planting and environmental safety should be taken to nursery, primary schools, to instill the orientation on environment on the young minds and establishment of environmental clubs in schools,” the communique recommended.
Another key recommendation involved supporting local communities in adopting alternative energy sources for domestic cooking, reducing dependence on activities that contribute to deforestation.
The stakeholders also emphasized the inclusion of livelihood initiatives in government and CSO interventions to ensure the well-being of the people.
As the communique concluded, stakeholders urged CSOs to intensify their efforts in raising awareness and advocating for environmental safety, further emphasizing the urgency of addressing deforestation in Northeast Nigeria.
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