By Michael Babatunde
The Ogun State government has commenced the planting of one million trees of various species in the nine forest reserves of the state. This move is to reiterate the government’s commitment to preserve the natural environment and curb the menace of global warming. The Commissioner for Forestry, Engr. Taiwo Oludotun made this known during the official flag off of year 2023 planting exercise, held at area J3 reserve in Ijebu East Local Government area of the state.
Oludotun, while flagging off the commencement of the afforestation/reforestation programme, said the state government had given the ministry a mandate to ensure the planting of trees in all the forest reserves of the state and also protect the conservation area. He said the one million trees would cover about 750 hectares of land in the reserves, with about 250,000 to be planted within this quarter of the year by the ministry and that, the ministry had commenced the nurseries for the trees earlier in the year.
“Presently, we already have 250,000 seedlings in our nurseries at our various reserves, couple with over 80,000 indigenous tree seedlings we received from the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN). The indigenous trees absorb carbon more compared to the exotic trees. We also have the local stakeholders in wood business that are willing to join us in the planting of these trees, we will also engage the locals and individuals in agro-forestry, which is about another 300,000 trees, and another 400,000 trees through coppice management within the nine reserves in Ogun State. The ministry, in conjunction with a sister agency, will also plant 10,000 trees around the Gateway International AgroCargo Airport, thereby ensuring that it provides good ambience for the area and replace indigenous trees that were uprooted during the construction of the airport”, Oludotun said.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Rotimiolu Akinlesi, said afforestation is not only about making money for the state, but it also gives good health and wellness to the people of the state because the tree species are medicinal and useful for treating sicknesses and diseases, hence the choice of indigenous tree seedlings. He said for the state to reach the proposed number for the quarter, the ministry had engaged important stakeholders in the forest industry such as the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), FRIN, and other locals.