The Catholic archbishop of Abuja Archdiocese, Ignatius Kaigama, has directed Catholic institutions and parishes in Abuja to plant at least 10 trees to conserve and protect the environment.
Mr Kaigama gave the directive at the inauguration of the tree planting/growing campaign organised by the Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) of the Abuja Archdiocese on Friday.
Mr Kaigama explained that the environment has been kind to humans, providing food and air, among others, hence the need to preserve it.
He said the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has mandated that everyone be involved in tree planting.
According to him, they stipulated that every diocese plant a minimum of 20,000 trees.
The bishop said the Abuja archdiocese could surpass the minimum target of 20,000 trees, saying the archdiocese has many churches, schools and hospitals.
“So we hope that everybody, at least for now, starts with planting 10 trees for all the chaplaincy and the pastoral areas, should plan at least 10 trees; you can plan more, do not go below 10,” he said.
Mr Kaigama said tree planting has enormous benefits for Nigeria as it can address herders and farmers crisis, which has claimed many lives and property.
The archbishop, who blessed and planted trees as an example for all Nigerians to follow, said, like the gospel, the message of tree planting will continue to be spread until it becomes a lifestyle.
The permanent secretary of the Federal Ministry of Environment, Yussuf Idris, called on corporate organisations and individuals to complement the government’s effort to restore the fast-degrading environment by planting trees.
“We are all aware of the current high rate of deforestation in our country. Nigeria’s forest resources are currently depleted between 3.7 per cent to 4 per cent annually, making it one of the highest in the world, resulting in climate change, flooding, soil degradation, and biodiversity loss, among others.
“The Federal Ministry of Environment is at the forefront of confronting this great challenge through our afforestation and reforestation programmes policy formulation that promote biodiversity conservation.
“Currently, we are working towards the enactment of the National Forestry Act, which we believe will strengthen enforcement of the National Forest Policy and many more,” he said.
In his remarks, Josephat Abaagu, chairman, JDPC-Abuja, said protecting the earth is crucial because it sustains all life and provides resources and a stable environment.