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WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY SPEECH
THE CHIEF SERVANT, DR. MU'AZU BABANGIDA ALIYU, OON, (TALBAN MINNA) THE GOVERNOR OF NIGER STATE, ON THE OCCASION OF TREE PLANTING CAMPAIGN FLAG-OFF IN COMMEMORATION OF WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY, AT HILL-TOP MODEL SCHOOL, MINNA; DELIVERED ON 7TH JUNE, 2011.
2. It is indeed a great delight to join the rest of the world in commemorating the World Environment Day (WED), which is being celebrated annually on June 5th world over, with a view to promoting awareness about the environment and enhancing political attention to the challenges facing the environment. The theme of this year’s celebration “FORESTS: NATURE AT YOUR SERVICE” reinforces the significance of Forests and the important role that Forests play in our lives by enhancing the quality of our lives – especially in our fight against climate change. It is interesting to note that the theme supports this year's United Nations (UN) International Year of Forests.
3. We are commemorating this year’s World Environment Day (WED) by flagging-off the Tree Planting Campaign to remind ourselves about the importance of Trees to our environment and health; to inculcate change of attitude in the general populace towards the planting and protection of trees in our neighborhoods and to signal to those who continue to encroach school lands with impunity. We are aware that trees, apart from providing food, shade, and economic fruits, beautify our environment and have become fundamental factors for biotic life including man, soil conservation, land reclamation, desertification mitigation, climate change and global warming.
4. This year, we are going to support in-school tree planting initiatives to encourage our children to make short and long term pledges to tree planting. To this end, we have introduced "Green the Niger Initiative", in which 20 pilot secondary schools have been selected to spearhead the establishment of Environmental Clubs that will be encouraged to practice environmental governance at the micro level, including taking good care of school boundary planting, orchards and Nurseries in the respective schools.
5. This approach intends to make the ‘future leaders’ the ambassadors of environmental conservation and "Green the Niger Initiative" in their various homes and communities. Let me therefore reiterate my directive to the Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources to ensure the establishment of Nurseries and orchards in the pilot schools and also place trophy for competition for the best pilot school in the aforementioned activities. Henceforth, Government will only flag-off tree planting campaign from the best school in Nursery and orchard maintenance.
6. Let me also use this opportunity to emphasize the need to reverse the rate of exploitation of forest resources in Niger State, which has caused extensive loss of biodiversity, erosion, flooding and desertification in various parts of the state. In view of the above, Government will take stringent measures to check these harmful environmental abuses.
7. Government has therefore decided that henceforth, any form of commercial exploitation of our forests in Niger State has been suspended for one year to allow for forest regeneration; and issuance of permits is hereby centralized and bestowed under the control of Niger state Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources.
8. We appreciate the excellent job done by the Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources in collaboration with UNDP for producing the Farmers’ Guide. We shall ensure mass production, circulation and distribution of the Farmers’ Guide to enable our farmers have timely access to useful information on climate change, because farming and agriculture generally are climate-sensitive.
9. On this note, I have the honour to flag-off the 2011 Tree Planting Campaign in the name of Almighty Allah (SWT) and to the benefit of humanity.
10. Thank you and God bless.