The future looks very gloomy for Nigerian forests due to the over-exploitation of economic trees and other vital forests resources, the Federal Government declared on Thursday.
According to the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Ibukun Odusote, Nigeria will lose its exotic plant species if forest abuse persists.
Odusote stated this in Abuja on the occasion of the 2019 International Day of Forests.
She noted that this year’s celebration with the theme ‘Forests and Education,’ as well as its slogan ‘Learn to Love our Forests,’ clearly reinforced the need to educate ourselves on the importance of the forests and learn how to appreciate and use them for our benefit.
She was quoted in a statement from the ministry as saying, “In line with the theme, the choice of this venue (Cyprian Ekwensi Centre For Arts and Culture, Abuja) named after one of Nigeria’s renowned lovers of arts and culture further creates an opportunity for us to re-learn about our national flower, the yellow trumpet (Costus spectabilis).
“Of all our national treasures, I dare say that this is the most unrecognised and most misrepresented. This yellow flower has been consistently wrongfully represented as red in some of our Coat of Arms.
“Worst still, the plant that used to be ubiquitous and can be found virtually in every part of the country, which is the reason it was chosen as our national flower beside its multiple uses, is now endangered and can only be found as relics in very few areas.”
Odusote further stated that her ministry had structured this year’s presentation to focus on reminding Nigerians of the likelihood of losing the country’s indigenous and iconic plant species if we continued to treat our forests resources as what we would have in perpetuity and if no conscious effort was made to use them sustainably.
Dignitaries, who gave goodwill messages at the event, recalled that there was a time in most tropical countries, especially in Nigeria, when forest and its abundant resources contributed significantly in sustaining the national economy until the discovery of oil.
Although that era had since gone, they pledged to advocate for endangered Nigerian forests and its beneficial resources for economic growth.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted and declared March 21 of every year as International Day of Forests to raise awareness on the importance of protecting all types of forests for sustainable development.