The Niger Government says it has begun the processes of repopulating its depleted 98 forest reserves in the state to protect the environment for human habitation.
Dr Lucky Barau, Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry for Environment and Forestry, disclosed this on Saturday while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna.
Barau noted that before now, the state had more than 100 forest reserves but had reduced to 98, owing to indiscriminate felling of unapproved trees by unlicensed persons for timber and fire wood.
He said that the remaining 98 forest reserves were not spared from the activities of deforestation, hence government policy to protect the forests by criminalising indiscriminate felling of trees.
The Permanent Secretary also said that government introduced reforestation, to repopulate the depleted reserves.
“The Niger State Government reached out to some international organizations, luckily the UN-Habitat and South Korea government intervened with a project for urban reforestation,” he said.
He explained that the project would involve 50 hectares of land, out of it 45 hectares would be located at Bosso Dam for water shade management.
Barau said that the remaining five hectares would be spread in 10 selected schools across the state, which would establish green clubs to manage the trees and also learn about forestry.
He said that the partners would finance the project which would bring economic and environmental benefits to the state as economic trees would be planted to protect the dam.
The Permanent Secretary hinted that the project would be completed before the end of the year.
Barau disclosed that the Federal Government also came up with two intervention projects of reforestation on 10 hectares of land in the state to protect the environment.
“The projects will involve planting of forest and herbal trees,” he said.
He said two years ago, the state received one million tree seedlings from the Forest Research Institute at Ibadan to help it repopulate its depleted forest reserves.
The permanent secretary said government had established a nursery for reforestation of forest reserves at a reduced cost, using the green guards.
“I can assure you that today we have raised over one million seedlings of different species in the nursery,” he said.
NAN reports that the state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Bello, on Wednesday cautioned residents against indiscriminate felling of trees while inaugurating the planting of 10 million shea butter trees in Bosso area of the state.
Bello reminded the people that government had enacted a law prohibiting the felling of any economic tree in the state without approval.
The governor said that government would not hesitate to punish anyone or group found to contravene the law.