Governors of the 36 states of the federation have committed themselves to plant 25 million trees to combat the effects of climate change in the country.
Meeting under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) in Abuja on Wednesday night, they resolved to work with the Federal Ministry of Environment to put the necessary institutional arrangements in place to achieve the goal.
This was contained in the communique issued at the end of the meeting and read by the forum’s chairman and governor of Ekiti state, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
The decision was reached by the governors after listening to a presentation by the Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abubakar.
The communique noted that the tree planting was in line with Nigeria’s commitment to its obligation under the Paris agreement.
It said: “The Forum received a presentation from the Hon. Minister of Environment, Mohammed Mahmoud Abubakar on the need to plant 25 million trees as pledged by Mr President.
“The Honorable Minister highlighted that the pledge is in line with Nigeria’s commitment to its obligation under the Paris agreement, the aspirations are also enshrined in our Nationally Determined Contribution.
“State governors commended the Ministry of Environment for driving this initiative. Members pledged to work with the Ministry by ensuring that the right institutional arrangements are in place in all States to ensure that each State supports the tree planting initiative.
“Governors agree that states should demarcate areas and gazette them as forest reserves. Governors also addressed the planting of trees that animals do not consume to ensure the sustainability of the forests. This will ensure that State governments get the economic, social and environmental benefits Nigeria’s forests provide.”
The governors also received a presentation by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, on the Geo-Reference Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development (GRID3) programme in Nigeria.
The programme is designed to strengthen the application of geospatial data for evidence-based decision making in the country.
According to the communique, the Minister highlighted several applications of the programme in priority areas of government including food security, health coverage, financial inclusion, survey and demographics and education.
The communique added: “State governors commended the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for coordinating the GRID3 programme which will be central to development planning going forward.
“Members pledged to work with the Ministry by providing the right institutional arrangements in all States to ensure that each State supports the generation and management of geospatial data. This will ensure that State governments have the right information in identifying where people live and how critical services can be most equitably and effectively allocated.”
Similarly, the forum received a presentation from the Senior Special Adviser to the President on the Presidential Enabling Environment Council (PEBEC), Dr Jumoke Oduwole, who briefed on the activities of the council on the Ease of Doing Business at the Subnational Level.
Oduwole told the governors that some states had already keyed into the project where results have been “impressive.”
The governors commended the interventions and pledged to continue to support and ensure improvements in the business environment at the subnational level.
On power, a team from Hypertech Nigeria Ltd briefed the forum on the 3050mw Mambila Hydro Electric Power Project (MHEPP), emphasizing that the project was being executed between the Federal Government of Nigeria and China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC).
According to the communique, the team gave an overview of the huge potential that laid fallow in the Mambilla region, “which governors appreciated but insisted that a presentation by the Ministers of Power and Water Resources would provide a more granular pathway to what needs to be done.”
The Director General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Brigadier General-General Shuaibu Ibrahim, briefed the governors on the need to optimise the potentials of Corp members, highlighting key areas of collaboration between the Corps and the forum.