JDPCI advocates forest preservation against climate change

The Justice, Development and Peace Caritas Initiative (JDPCI), Abuja, a faith-based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has advocated forest preservation to mitigate the effect of climate change.

Mr Josephat Abaagu, the JDPCI Chairman, said this at a news conference in Abuja on Friday to commemorate the 2024 World Environment Day celebrated annually on June 5.

Abaagu expressed dissatisfaction at the rate forests were being destroyed, noting that forest reserves that used to exist in the country in the past are no longer there.

He urged the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Mr Nyesom Wike, to revive the tree planting project which used to exist in the FCT in the past to beautify and safeguard the environment.

According to him, the 2024 World Environment Day theme: ‘Land Restoration, Desertification, and Drought Resilience’, offers the initiative an opportunity to call on everyone to rise to the challenge of protecting the environment.

He said that the JDPCI between 2023 and 2024 embarked on a tre
e planting campaign and had planted over 10,000 economic trees.

The chairman said that the tree planting would not only contribute to environmental restoration and biodiversity, but provide economic benefits to local communities.

He said the tree planting campaign would enhance carbon sequestration, combat soil erosion, and foster a healthier ecosystem.

‘If you talk about the Savannah region here and the Sahel area, the far north, and even parts of the south, you won’t see any forest again; the trees have all been cut down.

‘The kind of logging that happens in this country is terrible.

‘By integrating environmental stewardship with economic empowerment, we embody the holistic approach advocated by the Holy Father, Pope Father Francis.

‘Furthermore, I am thrilled to highlight the recent launch of the JDPCI Laudato Si’ Briquette Factory and safe energy cooking stoves in April 2024.

‘This innovative project which was inaugurated by His Grace, Most Rev. Dr. Ignatius A. Kaigama, represents a significant ste
p in our efforts to mitigate climate change.

‘The factory produces eco-friendly briquettes from agricultural waste like sawdust and rice husks, offering a sustainable alternative to traditional wood and charcoal.

‘This not only reduces deforestation and carbon emissions but also provides a cleaner and more affordable energy source for households,’ he said.

Mr Chukwuedozie Abazie, an official of the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development, also reiterated the need for individuals to pay more attention to their immediate environment.

‘The theme of the 2024 World Environment Day is a wake-up call on individuals to pay more attention to how they live their lives within their immediate environment,’ Abazie said.

He said that individuals must take a lot of seriousness on tree planting.

Rev. Fr. Solomon Uko, Executive Director, JDPCI, also urged the FCT Minister to take a clue from the Catholic Diocese of Abuja and resuscitate tree planting in the FCT.

Uko said that there was a need to mitigate the effect of
erosion in the FCT, with lot of buildings springing up in the area.

He also decried the effect of poor waste disposal in the FCT, stressing that could cause air pollution, if not properly managed.

‘We have the rainy season here, and we know what that means, so it is a call for us as human beings to take care of the earth.

‘We have been given that special task by God Himself and the priests always like to reflect in the scripture.

‘In Genesis Chapter 1, Verse 28, the Lord created man and gave us that commission, be fruitful, multiply and take care of the earth.

‘We are not owners, we are stewards. So, we have been given that responsibility of taking care of our earth, so, I urge the government and individuals to promote this task of taking care of our environment,” he said

Source: News Agency of Nigeria