Governor Hope Uzodimma has directed the Sole Administrators (SOLADS) in the 27 local government areas of Imo State to plant no fewer than 10,000 trees in their locality within six months of the launching of Hope Green Revolution initiative.
He did on Tuesday while flagging-off the tree planting initiative and launching of the Hope Green Revolution in collaboration with development partners – Numeric Development Limited and Summit Innovative and Synergy Limited.
During the launching the partners disclosed that Imo State can reap at least $10 billion in foreign direct investment if she can key into the Global Green Transmission Agenda, otherwise called Green Transition and Sustainable Economic Growth in Africa.
A yearly $100 billion is said to have been allocated to developing countries for environment-related projects but Africa as a whole is not able to assess up to 4% of the funds meant for projects ranging from power to transportation to infrastructure among others.
The launching attracted representatives from the federal ministry of industry, trade and investment; federal ministry of health; federal ministry of environment and the United States Ambassador to Nigeria.
In his keynote address, Governor Uzodimma said tree planting has shown to be an age-long method of dealing with the ravaging natural disaster like flood.
While urging everyone to consider tree planting and other measures to check environmental abuse as panacea to solving the threatening climate change, the governor directed the SOLADS to take the lead in planting a least 10000 trees within their domain just as the commissioners for agriculture and environment will work out the modalities on how to fully implement the other protocols that would make the Hope Green Revolution initiative a huge success in Imo State.
He said: “I have been informed that through the launching of the ‘Hope Green Revolution’, which is the first of its kind in sub – Saharan Africa, we shall reap the benefits economically, ecologically and socially. I sincerely look forward to these benefits, which will include, safer and healthier environment, job creation and opportunities for increased internal revenue generation.
“As our own modest contribution to the realization of this lofty idea, I hereby direct the Chairmen of the 27 Local Government Areas in the state to plant a minimum of ten thousand trees in their domain within the next six months. The Honourable Commissioners for Agriculture and Environment should collaborate to come up with the best strategies that will help Imo State drive the ‘Hope Green Revolution’ to a fruitful end.”
Governor Uzodimma continued: “It is remarkable that this event is taking place at a time when Nigeria has just experienced the worst type of flooding in recent history. As a result, many Nigerians lost their lives and property, while many more were displaced from their homes. As we speak, many Nigerians are yet to return to their homes, and we are all praying for the rains to abate and for the floods to recede.
“The “Hope Green Revolution” is an ambitious and revolutionary movement to address these anxieties and other consequences of extreme weather. Thus, this event could not have come at a better time.
“Although Nigeria is a party to the Global Green Transmission Agenda, Imo State is the first sub-national to go green in Africa. Thus, today’s event signifies a major milestone and another first for our dear state. This should not come as a surprise to anyone, considering that Imo State under my watch is blazing the trail in many fronts.
“In this respect it will interest you to know that Imo State is also the first state to embrace a full – blown digital economy, being the first State in Nigeria to establish a Ministry of Digital Economy and e-Government. Surely, you will agree with me that Imo State is on the march again!
“Be that as it may, we all know that climate change is responsible for the incessant rains, the attendant floods and other devastating extreme weather events reported across the world n recent times. We also know that a variety of human activities, which result in the excessive release of greenhouse gases, are responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer, the resultant global warming and other features of extreme weather, such as flooding.
“It is reassuring that something as simple as tree planting offers us a chance to contribute to the global efforts to mitigate against climate change and its devastating consequences.
“This explains why today’s event should not be seen as a mere ceremony but the beginning of a revolution. It should, therefore, be taken seriously by the agencies of government, corporate organizations and of course, the citizens and residents of the state.
“The declaration of Imo State going green today is to emphasize that it is henceforth compulsory for everyone who resides in Imo State to plant and nurture trees. In addition, other initiatives aimed at reducing the amount of greenhouse gases released to the environment through everyday human activities will be launched. This includes the adoption of such green energy initiatives as the green Cook stoves and other energy- saving initiatives in government offices and buildings.
“This is an innovative idea aimed at helping to mitigate the damage done to our environment by the indiscriminate activities of man. Although we have been having tree – planting campaigns in Nigeria, I believe the current aggressive approach will yield more positive results, partly because many of us now know that climate change is real.
“When I talk about the indiscriminate destructive activities of mankind towards nature, I look directly at those who fell trees either for commercial or domestic uses. As a child I used to observe government employees planting gmelina trees all around the state. Some of the cashew trees planted by our forebears are still there for us to see. These were deliberate efforts by a visionary generation to check erosion long before we started talking of combating the effects of climate change. But where are the trees today? Loggers, many of them, illegal, have swooped on them.
“So it is not enough to plant and nurture trees. We also need to come up with enforceable measures to preserve them. To this end, we shall explore legislative measures to ensure that every one who resides in Imo State is legally bound to embrace the tree – planting and maintenance culture, while those involved in the illegal felling of trees are made to face the lawful consequences of their anti – green culture.”
The Governor reiterated the benefits from tree planting and from all other protocols on environmental discipline, noting that Imo State will be better off with it on the long run.
“Let me assure everyone here that Imo State under my watch will do all we can to make this exercise succeed. It is, therefore, my great pleasure to flag – off the “Hope Green Revolution Exercise”.
The Imo State Commissioner for Environment, Prof. Emmanuel Duru in his welcome address harped on the benefits of being environment-friendly and assured that Imo State will not regret keying into the initiative.
Prof. Duru explained: “The Hope Green Revolution initiative will include provision of Clean Stoves to indigenes of Imo State, replacement all Switches and Bulbs in hotels, private and government offices as well as change to hybrid power generation system (solar and gas) and change from No bio degradable to degradable materials.
“Others include, introduction of electric commercial buses on the road, convert all tourist centers and institutions to Net zero emission and finally set up a city and guild training centers for plumbers, electricians and other artisans in the three Senatorial zones of Imo State.”
Mr. John Opaluwa who represented the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment said that the policy measures of the Green Revolution Initiative are aimed at pursuing an alternative and sustainable part to industrialization that takes advantage of innovations, technology and business models for improved energy efficiency in the industrial sectors.
“Secondly, it will create and adopt green technology in the industry and support low carbon emission manufacturing systems.”
Opaluwa said a Green economy will lead to the decarburization of the Nigerian economy and help the country achieve the next zero target for 2050 to 2070 as enshrined in the climate Act 2021. “A Green economy will provide better income opportunities, reduce poverty, create more jobs and enhance energy supply and security and to reduce the countries exposure to volatilities in the global fossil fuel market.”
In his remarks the MD/CEO Numerix Nigeria Limited Engr. Babatunde Aina said that the Green Revolution, when achieved, will reduce carbon dioxide emission in Imo State.
Babatunde said: “The Hope Green Revolution legacy orchard is making Imo State the first Green smart sustainable sub-national State in Africa. The Greening programme will bring about tree planting and nurturing where numerix will provide seedlings for everyone to plant their own economic trees starting with His Excellency, Governor Hope Uzodimma.
“Again the Hope Revolution will bring about the establishment of first ever Green Business Roundabout in Imo State as well as harness all sources of renewable energy in Imo State.”
Ms Olusode Oyeleye who came from the USA ambassador, said it would be heart-warming if the government and her partners should consider getting the people to own the project, by committing to nurturing the trees.
Highlights of the programme were the presentation of clean stove to three women from three Local Governments Areas of Imo State -Ahiazu, Isu and Oru East.