- House Raises the Alarm over Nigeria’s 3.5% Annual Deforestation Rate
The House of Representatives has expressed its worry at the annual deforestation rate in Nigeria, put at 3.5 per cent by the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO)’s 2015 Global Forest Resources Assessment, amounting to approximately 350,000 to 400,000 trees.
The once enviable forests around the country are in real danger of being wiped out, the House said. Experts also believe the various ongoing efforts by the government and private sector operators to adopt tree planting and re-afforestation initiatives have not adequately compensated for the rapid loss of forest cover.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara speaking in Abuja Tuesday, recalled that Nigeria was once covered by extensive forests.
Dogara, who was represented by the Minority Leader, Hon. Leo Ogor, spoke at the hearing of the ad hoc committee investigating massive deforestation and corruption that has crippled the environment and its effect on climate change, where he added that deforestation has long been taken for granted, but now faces the threat of wiping out forest reserves.
“I dare say the figure is on the increase, especially with the coming of foreign merchants in search of ornate species of wood called Rosewood, which Nigeria is fortunate to be blessed with but is fast becoming a nightmare for the nation,” Dogara said.
“We were alarmed when the FAO reported that Nigeria’s present forest status is less than 5 per cent, well below the international recommended 25 per cent forest standard (afforestation). With this statistics, as a parliament of the people, we cannot continue to fold our hands and watch our nation being destroyed; we must all join hands to preserve our environment. It is our collective heritage and responsibility,” he added.
Dogara said the legislature is concerned with the manner of implementation of various Deforestation, Desertification, Afforestation and Reforestation projects by government at all levels without clear cut success.
These he listed to include projects such as the Sahara Great Green Wall Projects, the Clean Gas Cook and the Wonder bag Initiative, the Presidential Initiative on Afforestation, the UN-REDD+, the FCPF projects and several other local and international projects, which were intended to return Nigeria back to its status of a country with rich forests.
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Bede Eke in his address, said the nation’s rich forests and its forest reserves hold the key to take the nation out of the current economic recession and even its state of insecurity.
He lamented that the deforestation with its attendant adverse effects have caused challenges in the eco system, agriculture, health, environmental degradation, climate change, economy and security.
Proactive measures must therefore be taken to avert total destruction of Nigeria’s once enviable forest cover, Bede said.
“It is important to mention that the change agenda of the present administration anchored on transparency in public service and zero tolerance for corruption would amount to nothing if institutions and individuals continue to engage in business with impunity,” he said.
Bede added that strict adherence to the rules and regulations for doing business in Nigeria, whether for domestic use or export purposes, must be complied with by all.
“The rampant ransack and exploitation of our rich forests calls for serious examination of the desirability or otherwise of certain agencies, which from our view have failed the nation in its enforcement mandate,” he added.
University Of Ibadan (UI) Goes Digital, Releases Timetable for Virtual Academic Session
University of Ibadan (UI) on Friday announced it is going ahead with resumption on February 20 despite the second wave of COVID-19.
In a statement released by the school, the First Semester of the 2020/2021 academic session will commence virtually on February 20, 2021.
The virtual academic session will last for 13 straight weeks and end on Friday May 12, 2021, while the matriculation ceremony will hold on Tuesday March 16, 2021.
The University of Ibadan also scheduled one week for the Finalization of Continuous Assessment, to begin from Mon. 17 May and ends Friday 21 May.
The rising number of COVID-19 cases has compelled the Senate to approve the virtual academic session in an effort to ensure the tertiary institution abides by the protocols established by the Federal Government to curb the spread of the pandemic.
“It, therefore, agreed that the 2020/2021 First Semester lectures will be delivered online. In this regard, students will not be accommodated on campus,” a statement from the school said.
“Senate also approved the cancellation of the 2019/2020 session. The next session is, therefore, renamed 2020/2021 Academic Session. Consequently, students who have been admitted for the 2019/2020 session will now be regarded as the 2020/2021 intakes.
“Kindly note that online opening of Registration Portal and Orientation Programme for the 2020/2021 intakes may commence ahead of the Sat 20/02/21 date indicated above,” the statement said.
House of Representatives Impeached Trump Over Capitol Invasion
The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached President Trump for the second time after instigating the US Capitol invasion.
Led by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, 232 representatives, including 10 Republicans, voted to impeach the outgoing president against 197 that voted for him to remain in the office for the next six days when he would handover to the president-elect, Joe Biden.
The ten Republicans were Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the party’s No. 3 leader in the House; Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington; John Katko of New York; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Fred Upton of Michigan; Dan Newhouse of Washington; Peter Meijer of Michigan; Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio; David Valadao of California; and Tom Rice of South Carolina.
Speaking before the vote, Pelosi said “a constitutional remedy that will ensure that the Republic will be safe from this man who is so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together.”
“He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” she said, adding later, “It gives me no pleasure to say this — it breaks my heart.”
Republicans, who unanimously stood behind president Trump in 2019 during his first impeachment, were divided this time over the attack on Capitol.
A Republican representative from California, Kevin McCarthy, said “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” Mr. McCarthy said. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”
US Congress Declares Joe Biden as The 46th President of The United States After Trump Mob Left
The joint congress of the United States on Thursday, January 7, 2021 certified Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States following President Trump’s mob action that disrupted the congress joint proceeding on Wednesday.
After ordering his followers to disrupt proceedings on Wednesday, President Trump later announced that there will be an orderly transition on January 20.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement issued by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino.
“I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!” Trump added.
While the certification was just a mere formality as Biden had secured enough electoral college votes (270) required to clinch the world’s most powerful seat, the refusal of Donald Trump to accept the results of the November 2020 election made the session a keenly watched, especially after Trump mob disrupted a joint session of the Senate.
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