Tuesday, October 4, 2011


The National Council on Environment (NCE) has banned the export of fuel wood and charcoal to check deforestation and desertification in the country. The ban was adopted at the 8th National Council on Environment meeting in Kaduna, with the theme “Transforming the Nigerian Environment.” The ban followed the adoption of a memorandum by the Federal Ministry of Environment no FMENV/08/FED/08 and titled ‘Request for Total Ban of Charcoal Export and Control of Interstate Fuel Wood Trade In Nigeria.’

The memo had sought the outright ban on the commodities and the regulation of interstate fuel wood and charcoal trade, in an effort to increase the areas under forest cover and other attendant socio-economic and environment consequences. The council, while adopting the memo advised the federal government to further subsidize kerosene and domestic gas, to make them accessible to communities and consumers, with a view to curtailing the use of fire wood by households. The council, however, urged states and local governments to apply methods suitable to them to ensure compliance in controlling the movement of such products between their boundaries as it could not dictate measures to be taken to implement the ban.

The council also urged states to participate in the one million seedlings production project to meet the national target of 25 percent production, to combat desertification. The memo noted that the charcoal business, if allowed, would thwart President Goodluck Jonathan’s efforts to address the menace of deforestation and desert encroachment, soil and gully erosion, as well as flooding and pollution control activities. It urged the states and local governments to mobilise for massive planting of seedlings and provide land for tree planting, to ensure the success of the federal government’s initiative.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 120 memoranda on the environment were submitted for consideration by the council from states, experts, NGOs and other stakeholders. NAN reports that the NCE dropped 19 of the memos while some were merged because of their similarity.

It was observed that while desertification was prevalent in the north, erosion and coastal challenges were more rampant in the east and south west respectively. NAN further reports that the memos, earlier classified into six groups, were handled by sub-committees and later adopted at the plenary.
They were later endorsed by the Federal Ministry of Environment as a working document to be presented to the Federal Executive Council.


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