The Niger Government says about 60 per cent of its forest are lost as a result of indiscriminate felling of trees and other deforestation activities across the state.
Alhaji Idris Aminu, the state’s Commissioner for Environment and Forestry, made the disclosure at a news conference on Monday in Minna.
The news conference was to list achievements and challenges of the ministry in the last three and half years of the present administration.
Aminu said that the ministry carried out sensitisation awareness campaign in Mokwa, Bida, Agaie, Lapai, Pandogari and Suleja to warn against the hazards of indiscriminate felling of trees.
According to him, the ministry has charged about 50 persons to court for indiscriminate felling of trees.
He said that as part of efforts to reserve the forest, the state government re-engaged 5,000 Green Guards for effective policing of the forest.
“We renovated and furnished our Zone B Zonal Forestry Office in Maitumbi, Minna, and there was a reconstitution of a special task force for effective patrol of our estates.
“We planted trees, carried out sensitisation awareness campaign in all emirate councils in the state on the effect of deforestation, indiscriminate waste disposal, flood, erosion control and other aspects of environmental degradation.
“Other efforts by the ministry are sustained maintenance of trees and shrubs in Minna metropolis,’’ he said.
The commissioner said that the forestry laws banning the production and sale of charcoal and other forestry products was still in force, adding that the penalty for such offence was two years imprisonment or a fine of N100,000.
He however, said that inadequate logistics including lack of operational vehicles for routine monitoring, enforcement and supervision were part of the challenges facing the ministry.
According to him, paucity of funds and nonchalant attitude exhibited by people toward the environment are other challenges affecting the operations of the ministry. (NAN)