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Group partners UNIZIK on Anambra forest-landscape restoration action plan

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AS ONE part of efforts to control the menace of erosion in various communities in Anambra State, the Nigeria Conservation Foundation (NCF) holds Anambra Forest-Landcape Restoration Action Plan Workshop in partnership with Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka, to strategise on ways to restore the environmental richness in both school and various communities in Anambra State.

  The program, which held at Chike Okolie Centre for Entrepreneurship Studies, UNIZIK, Awka, was declared open by the vice chancellor of the school, Professor Charles Esimonem, ably represented by Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics, Prof. Fredick Odibo, who described the workshop a dynamic relationship between NCF and the school since 2019, through which a great milestone has been achieved in both training  forest patrol guards of the school, extending the program to Anambra State communities and other state stakeholders.

  “The NCF-UNIZIK is very critical considering the current nature of Anambra State eco-system, the menace of erosion and unintegrated scheme of deforestation. I am highly optimistic of the many great benefits to be achieved through the partnership both in the eco-system research, environmental observation and management,” he said.

Highlighting reasons for the program, the Director General of NCF, Muhtari Aminu-Kano, represented by Director, Business Development and Communication, Mr Uchenna Achunine said it would help in carrying out different projects on forest recovery, tree planting and many others, adding that in 2020, NCF, in partnership with other organisations, planted more than 2million trees.

He commended Anambra State Government and UNIZIK management for partnering with NCF and also urged all hands to be on deck  to develop an actionable master plan and commit to its full implementation, even as the body look forward to effective partnership with all the stakeholders.

Also speaking at the workshop, the Special Adviser to the VC on Land Resource Management, Prof. Peter Nnabude said UNIZIK had planted over 10,000 trees in the school within the space of 2019 till date and acknowledged the commitment of the staff of Department of Forestry, led by the HOD, Dr. Anslem Egwunatum, among others for their dedication towards restoring the environment to normal shape.

Nnabude said that courtesy of NCF, the school now has 40 well trained forest patrol guards and bio-resource conservation monitors to safeguard their natural resources. He expressed gratitude for the interest and willingness shown on them to extend their resources and expertise towards the development of the institution and the catchment state, adding that NCF-UNIZIK partnership is consolidating rapidly into a structure for outreach to communities in Anambra State and southeast in the areas of afforastation, natural conservation and eco-tourism.

In his keynote address, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Anambra State, Mr Nnamdi Onukwuba said the workshop would help to open up what is happening in the world of erosion control, particularly afforestation, deforestation and all issues related to landscape restoration and conversation as well as to develop an action plan for a successful achievement.

  Onukwuba said it was quite commendable that the school has been able to produce forest guards without arms, adding that global warming, green house gasses and depletion of ozone layer have caused severe changes in the climate system and adversely affected agricultural sector and food supply.

Commissioner for Environment, Mr Obi Nwankwo, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Dr. Emma Okafor, stated that the plan will help to develop the state and restore many erosion sites handling by the state government and NEWMAP. He condemned the act of dumping of refuse indiscriminately by people, especially during rainfall and constant flooding, excavation of land  and killing of people, adding that waste management and clearing have been  ways of conserving the environment.

  Also speaking, the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C Don Adinuba, represented by the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Governor Obiano on Media, Mr Tony Nezianya, described the workshop as very crucial due to overflooding in some areas in the country and the  world at large.

He also commended UNIZIK management for the efforts made so far in the school as well, assuring adequate publicity of deliberations in the workshop.

  Personalities present during the workshop were the MD/CEO Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation (ANPC), Publishers of National Light Newspaper, Ka O Di Taa and SportsLightXTRA, Sir Chuka Nnabuife, Director Technical Programmes of the NCF, Dr Joseph Onoja, Project Coordinator NEWMAP, Anambra State, Mr Mike Ivenso, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Deputy Governor, Mrs Ifeyinwa Uzoka, among many others.

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