Niger state Government has approved the constitution of a new Special Task Force to fight deforestation just as it has banned charcoal production in the state.
A statement signed by Mary Noel-Berje, chief press secretary (CPS) to the Governor of Niger state, Abubakar Sani Bello, and made available to SummitNews, said this was disclosed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Mr. Lucky Barau, while briefing the press at the Government House in Minna, the state capital.
The statement said the establishment of the task force team, code- named “Cracked Team,” became necessary following the incessant felling of trees for commercial charcoal production across the state which, he said, will in no distant time lead to environmental and health hazards to the state and its people.
Mr. Barau said ‘the Crack Team’ has been approved for each zone of the state to comprise about two to three persons in all the local government areas, to enable easy interception of illegal and commercial charcoal producers at every point within the state.
“Niger state is today ranked the highest producer of charcoal in commercial quantity which is not only consumed within the state, but is also exported to neighboring countries. This is done at the detriment of the state and the future generation.
“It is robbing the future generation of the benefit it will have from natural resources,” he explained.
Mr. Barau said the state government is making arrangements to massively embark on planting of trees across the state as it has received about 1.7 million seedlings from the Forest Research Institute of Nigeria.
He also disclosed that the state government has banned charcoal production in the state as discussions are on with briquette producers in order to provide alternative for the people.
The Permanent Secretary, then, warned that anyone caught or linked with activities of charcoal production in the state will face the wrath of the law.