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Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, yesterday declared July 30 every year, starting from this year, a public holiday for the planting of trees in a ceremony known as the Green Carnival.
A statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Christian Ita, quoted the governor as explaining that setting aside a day for tree planting ‘underscores our readiness for the redd+ and commitment to forest conservation and management.’
The governor, who said one million trees would be planted during this year’s Green Carnival, said the exercise was also aimed at addressing the challenge of urban deforestation.
The event, which was to take place simultaneously across the 18 local government areas of the state; “is one of the measures to tackle global warming, deforestation and climate change as well as to also drive home our commitment to the implementation of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the Superhighway,” the statement quoted the governor further.
He expressed optimism that the state’s forest cover, which represented 58 per cent of Nigeria’s forest cover, would through the Green Carnival, grow to 68 per cent. He pledged that the Urban Green Canopy Calabar initiative would sustain Calabar as the greenest city in Nigeria and Cross River as the greenest state.
Consequently, all schools, homes, ministries, government agencies and departments, banks, hospitals and all business premises must plant new trees.
Subsequently it would be an offence not to plant a tree on that day, the statement added. Meanwhile, widows in their numbers yesterday protested in Obudu over the governor’s plan to construct an ‘international cargo and passenger airport’ in his local government area, using their farmlands.
The widows, who came from four communities namely Okambi, Igwo, Atiakpe and Ikwomikwu have, since the governor made his intention known to construct the airport, been resisting the move, but the governor has gone ahead to acquire not less than nine square kilometers of the communities.
The action of the governor has since divided the communities with some accepting the plan while others, whose farmlands the project will affect, are unhappy about the cargo site which they insisted would deprive them of their livelihoods. The most affected are the widows from the four communities, who have raised the alarm over the destruction of their palm plantations and farms worth hundreds of millions of naira.
Source; New Telegraph