Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has warned that Nigeria and by extension Africa were at the risk of harsher environmental challenges in the near future.
He has, therefore, called on government at all levels to pay more attention and step up efforts to address the issue including investing more resources towards protecting the environment.
The former Deputy President of the Senate who is also a member of the Belgium-based Climate Parliament, gave the warning at the weekend when he joined the Rotary Club District 9142 to plant trees in Enugu as part of the ongoing efforts by the organisation and its partners to help preserve the environment. He commended the Rotary International for extending their humanitarian work to the protection of the environment, expressing worry that environmental challenges had continued to dispossess Nigerians of their habitations.
The ranking Senator, therefore, urged citizens and government at all levels to be alive to their responsibility to the environment.
According to him: “Today, we have desertification still happening in the North, gully erosion in the East, coastal erosion in the Niger Delta and riverine areas. This means that if we don’t do something substantial in the next few years, all of us will probably converge at the middle of Nigeria because all these may have taken over our environment.
“Also, the truth is that Africa emits the lowest Co2 (Carbon dioxide), but we are among the greatest in terms of the challenge and the possible danger. If we do not do anything about it today, tomorrow will be very devastating. “So, what we are doing today is to help, not only to preserve what we have today, but also to preserve our future. The challenge is huge, but we must not give up because I believe that with the human spirit, with determination, we will overcome”.
Ekweremadu said tree planting was a source of joy and satisfaction, if taken as a hobby and duty to humanity.
“When you have a child and you see your child grow, it gives a lot of satisfaction; when you plant a tree and the tree grows, it also gives you satisfaction.
He recalled that as the first elected Chairman of a local government Council in Enugu in 1997, his administration apart from building a befitting secretariat for the local government also ensured the planting of trees in the area.
His words: “I was the first elected Chairman of Aninri Local Government Area in 1997 and it was a virgin place. We cleared it and built the secretariat. But the most important thing is that we planted trees there. Each time I pass there and see those giant trees, it reminds me of how we started.
“So, I believe that everybody has something to give. Even if you have nothing else to give, please, plant trees and you would have given so much to humanity and the world”.