The National Park Service has condemned the illegal felling of trees across Nigeria’s forests reserves, warning perpetrators to desist from the act or face the law. The Conservator-General of the Service, Dr Ibrahim Goni, gave the warning in Abuja yesterday, while briefing newsmen virtually on government’s position on illegal felling of trees in the country.
According to Goni, the service will arrest and prosecute anyone found involved in illegal felling of trees in any of its national parks.
The conservator-general said reports had shown that some Nigerians still engage in illegal felling of trees which causes deforestation across the country.
He explained that trees absorb and store carbon dioxide and if they were cleared, or even disturbed could release carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases which were harmful to the environment and humans.
“A safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment is the foundation of human life. But today, because of human action the crisis of climate change are directly and severely impacting our lives and environment negatively.
“Deforestation affects us all, whether we realise it or not.
“It will lead to more infectious diseases in humans as it has been established that deforestation can be a strong driver of infectious disease transmission,’’ he said.
The conservator-general said that deforestation reduces biodiversity, the release of greenhouse gas emissions had been negatively affecting natural ecosystems and the climate.
“The service is fighting hard to stop forest destruction, our environmental campaigns together with other stakeholders are starting to pay off, but there is still a lot more to do,’’ he said.
According to Goni, there is the need to educate Nigerians on the dangers associated with deforestation.
He urged statse governments to join in the fight against illegal felling of trees and deforestation in Nigeria, calling on all to report those illegally felling trees as well as their buyers to the appropriate authorities for appropriate action.
“People know these illegal loggers and their buyers, they live among us, and they should report them to the appropriate authorities because the evil they are covering will consume us all, if not nipped in the bud.
“We must work together to assist in addressing this and other crucial issues in our environment.
“Our office is open to collaboration and ideas and will continue to work on letting our people know the danger we face.
“This is a call to action for all well-meaning Nigerians to join in the fight of protecting our ecosystem,’’ he said.
Goni also said that the service had conservation education units in communities near all the national parks in the country called support zone.
These zones help to carry out campaigns often on why trees around the parks should not be felled.