The Lagos State Government has warned residents of the state to desist from cutting down any tree without relevant approval from the directorate of forestry in the Ministry of Agriculture.
Ms. Abisola Olusanya, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, gave the warning during a news conference on activities to commemorate the 2022 International Day of Forests, on Monday, at Alausa, Ikeja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of 2022 International Forests Day is: “Forests and Sustainable Production and Consumption”.
She said that every March 21 has been set aside to commemorate it and also alert peoples’ consciousness to extraordinary challenges presently confronting the world, which is brought about by environmental and climatic changes.
Olusanya noted that the celebration was an event to raise public awareness about the importance and contributions of forests to the earth’s life cycle.
She said that the theme was a pointer to the relationship between life on earth and forests, urging residents of the state to report any of such infractions or illegal tree felling to the ministry.
“As a government, the state is deploying huge resources to maintain a balanced ecosystem; as joint stakeholders, it is our responsibility to encourage and mobilise every single member of our families and constituencies to plant one tree each.
“The water we drink, the medicines we take, the food we eat and enjoy, the shelter we have, and even the oxygen we breathe, all have an association with forests.
“This implies that we can no longer afford to take the issues of deforestation, arbitrary removal of vegetation, illegal tree felling, emission of toxic substances to the environment, and every other form of actions that endanger the ecosystem with levity.
“We must map out strategies to mitigate the effect of our activities on the environment and maintain sustainable forest preservation vis-a-vis production in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 11, 12, and 13.
“Vulnerable habitats like Lagos, which has a population estimated to be over 22 million, will undoubtedly face tremendous pressure exerted on the natural vegetation.
“Let me also use this opportunity to remind us that it is against the law to cut any tree in Lagos state without getting the approval of the directorate of forestry in the ministry of agriculture.
“We will, therefore, appreciate your cooperation in furnishing the ministry with information when and where such infraction takes place,” she said.
The commissioner said that a lot of activities had been planned to commemorate the event to show the seriousness of Lagos towards the need to protect the environment and safeguard the food system.
She said that they include tree-planting campaigns to encourage vegetation regeneration, ceremonial tree planting and debates, and essay competitions for secondary school students.
“The debate and essay competition is aimed at raising awareness of school children to the need to be conscious of their environment and to imbibe the culture of conservation.
“It is on this premise, that we will be involving you students, the future generation, henceforth in the celebration of the International Day of Forests.”
NAN reports that Odunsaya Tawakalitu, an SS3 student of Oriwu Senior Model College, Ikorodu, scored 67.5 per cent to emerge the overal