The Kogi State Coordinator of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Mrs Ngozi Nwatarali, on Thursday said that corps members in the state were expected to plant one million trees this year.
She said this was part of an initiative by the Federal Government of planting one million trees in the state.
Nwatarali made the disclosure at the flag-off ceremony and sensitization exercise of “Plant One Million Tree” by the 2017 Batch ‘A’ Stream 1 corps members and “would be” volunteers at the State Orientation Camp, Asaya, Kabba.
According to her, the Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the NYSC, is initiating and implementing the planting of “One Million Tree Concept”, expected to be effectively implemented by corps members in every state of the federation.
She said that the sensitization exercise was imperative due to the high rate of deforestation in the country,adding that statistics has shown that Nigeria has lost about two million hectares of her forest between 2005 and 2010.
“The programme is meant to engage and mobilize stakeholders in tree planting and maintenance culture, and the volunteer corps members are to be called ‘Tree Planting Ambassadors (TPA).
“TPAs are expected to also mobilize other corps members and the public for voluntary tree planting and also create awareness in tree planting in schools, churches, mosques, villages and communities during their service year.
“To achieve this, each corps member is expected to plant four trees in their respective places of primary assignment; then nurture these trees for the rest of their service year and give regular account.
“This will help our nation to combat deforestation and achieve afforestation as well as meeting the UN Food and Agricultural Organizations (FAO) recommended 25 per cent national tree cover,” she said.
The coordinator urged the corps members to volunteer and key into the concept that would in the final analysis make them tree planting ambassadors of their country.
Earlier, Dr Solomon Hinmikaye, Head of Horticulture, Kabba College of Agriculture, stressed the need for the volunteers to have passion for tree planting, noting that problems of erosion, global warming and increased gas emissions were caused deforestation.
“We have brought seedlings from Kabba college of agriculture to be planted by corps members to help promote afforestation and reduce the building of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
“To counter deforestation, we simply need to plant trees; massive replanting effort would help to alleviate the problems deforestation causes,” he said.
The NYSC state coordinator with corps members jointly planted some trees to flag-off the programme.