From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja

In line with the Federal Government’s resolve to find an alternative source of energy for the country, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has earmarked N4.8 billion to replace all the street lights in the city with solar energy.

As a long-term arrangement, FCT also plans to disband vehicles that are powered by petroleum products and replace them with electric vehicles.

This policy, according to FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, will affect the public transportation more.

Bello who spoke at the weekend, during the 15th Meeting of the National Council on Environment, in Abuja, explained that these measures are taken to protect the environment which is under a serious threat.

He noted that the FCT administration will intensify its public enlightenment and sensitisation programme to get the citizenry involved in the task of protecting the environment.

“We have, for instance, nurtured over 170, 000 tree seedlings through our Department of Parks and Recreation to be planted across the FCT and we are also working hard to reduce harmful gas emissions, especially from motor vehicles on our roads” he said, adding that matters concerning the environment have occupied the front burner of national and global discourse in recent times, especially as the consequences of environmental degradation and climate change are becoming more evident.

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In her welcome remarks, Minister of State for Environment, Mrs Sharon Ikeazor stated that her ministry is accelerating the implementation of the Great Green Wall Programme, through its agency, the National Agency for the Great Green Wall (NAGGW), which was established principally to reverse land degradation and desertification by supporting local communities in the sustainable management and use of natural resources to reduce poverty, enhance food security and promote sustainable livelihood.

According to her, the agency has cumulatively increased the total average of arable land recovered from a baseline of 90 hectares in 2019 to 4,792 hectares by second quarter of 2021.

“It has also increased the number of trees (orchards and woodlots) planted from one million and eighty thousand (1,080,000) to five million, six hundred and twelve thousand four hundred (5,612,400). In the same vein, Federal Department of Forestry and Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN) has also increased the vegetation cover from the baseline of one hundred and fifty five thousand two hundred (155,200) trees in 2019 to six hundred and thirty-five thousand, eight hundred and forty (635,840) by the second quarter of 2021″ she said.

Ikeazor noted that the Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with the private sector, has provided 74,413 direct and indirect jobs and given 25,263 persons various assistance to support their livelihood.

” In addition, we have actively collaborated with the private sector to create a large number of well-paying jobs for Nigerian youths. The ministry has been able to create seventy-four thousand, four hundred and thirteen (74,413) direct and indirect jobs through the implementation of various people- oriented projects and programmes as of the second quarter of 2021. A total number of twenty-five thousand, two hundred and sixty- three (25,263) persons classified as the rural and poorest of the poor have received various livelihood enhancement trainings and support and have gone ahead to make a decent living for themselves.

“The ministry, through its agency has recently obtained the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approval to establish 10 national parks across the geopolitical zones of the country to tackle and reverse the severe trend of biodiversity loss in Nigeria as a way to combat environmental hazards” she noted.