Delta Government on Thursday said it would partner with Fight Against Desert Encroachment, FADE Africa as it strives to combat environmental degradation in the state.
Speaking at the flag-off of tree planting exercise by the Delta State Government as part of activities marking this year’s World Desertification and Drought Day in Asaba, Governor Okowa said his administration would continue to come up with policies and programmes to ensure sustainable environment and check the impact of climate change.
At the forum tagged ‘A Little Garden Today, A Little Forest Tomorrow, Okowa said the State Government was partnering with FADE to salvage the environment from degradation.
The Governor who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Rt. Hon. Festus Agas, symbolically planted a tree at the garden, saying it would act as a tonic to Deltans to key into the need for a greener environment.
“This is a collaborative effort between FADE and the agency ,what we are doing here today is very important for the future of our state.
“The main objective of FADE is to fight against desert encroachment, and over the years, it has become a platform where environmental problems are looked into and solutions proffered.
“Six years ago we came with SMART agenda, the T represents transformed environment through urban renewal. This agency was the first we established, and in this past two years, even our worst critics will agree with me that Asaba is wearing a new look.
“We have the privilege of coming to this little garden today, and I know there are other gardens in Asaba, you will agree that the environment has been transformed, it is better than what it was.
“This effort would act as a tonic to Deltans to key into the need for a greener environment. One of the greatest global challenges is climate change.
“The effect of climate change have been highlighted, and as a state, we will come up with policies and programmes to ensure a sustainable greener environment in Delta,” he stated.
Director General of Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency, Mrs. Amaechi Mrakpor had said it was the desire of the agency for residents to live according to nature’s prescription.
“We want people to take cognisance of the fact that nature and environment is all about life. We want people to take ownership of the environment.
“If everyone of us, irrespective of age, begin one person at a time, to make effort to change the environment, then off course the environment will take it’s proper shape,” she said.
She commended Jibunoh for his passion for the preservation of the environment, noting that the octogenarian was unrelenting in his push to prevent desert encroachment despite his age.
“We need a whole lot of re-orientation to sustain this garden; and I believe that is what Jibunoh is doing with us. At 84, this has remained Jibunoh’s passion, it is about his life,” she added.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, Founder of Fight Against Desert Encroachment (FADE), Chief Newton Jibunoh said his passion to preserve the environment through nurturing of trees almost broke his home.
He said a lot of grazing lands in the North have been lost to desertification while African countries had lost 30 percent of its land mass to the Sahara desert.
According to him, I embarked on this journey over forty years ago because of the likely catastrophe that the desert was going to impose on all the countries that bordered the Sahara desert.
“I was young at 29 and I didn’t have the voice and the money but I thank the Press who started publishing some of my findings and reports.
“When United Nations decided to create a convention to combat desertification we contributed to the convention and today every June 17 is set out to commemorate the way to combat the desert from taking us over.
“The reason why herdsmen are coming everywhere down the South is because the desert has taken over completely the grazing fields in the North.
“I saw the transformation that is taking place in Asaba and I decided to partner with the Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency to further develop a green environment for the capital city.
“So we are here with you and ready to go any length with you because what you have started in Asaba must be sustained to check degradation of the environment.”
Chairman House Committee on Environment Hon. Emmanuel Sinebe, Chairman Oshimili South Local Government Council Hon. Kelvin Ezenyili and Commissioner Designate Mr Charles Aniagwu also planted trees at the ceremony.