FCTA tasks youths on sustainable exploitation of forest resources  

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By Philip Yatai

The Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), has advised youths in the territory to harness the vast potential of forest resources sustainably.

“This is critical to conserving the biodiversity and ecosystem of FCT for future generation”, the Mandate Secretary, Mr Lawan Geidam, said during a sensitisation in Abuja on Friday.

Geidam, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs Grace Adayilo, explained that the sensitisation was organised to build the capacity of the youths on forest and wildlife exploration.

According to him, the conservation of biodiversity is critical to maintaining a healthy ecosystem that will serve the interest of all.

He emphasised the need for responsible exploitation of forest resources for sustainable livelihood and economic growth.

He affirmed the commitment of the FCT Administration to promoting initiatives that protect endangered wildlife species.

This, he said, was being done through sensitisation, training, and empowerment of youth in economically viable ventures like honey production among others.

“FCTA is dedicated to global action against practices that endanger wildlife species.

“This includes promoting eco-tourism, sustainable timber harvesting, non-timber forest products, and carbon offset programmes.

“Such strategies will not only secure the future of youths but also contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems,” he said.

Similarly, the Permanent Secretary stressed the need for synergy with relevant agencies to address security threats in the forest to make them safer for productive activities.

She said that the FCTA was stepping up efforts to raise awareness and enforce stringent penalties for illegal wildlife trade activities.

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This, according to her, is in line with the National Strategy to Combat Wildlife and Forest Crime in Nigeria 2022–2026.

While recognising the vulnerability of local hunters to engage in wildlife crime, the permanent secretary urged the youths to take advantage of lucrative bee production and other alternative livelihood opportunities.

Earlier, Mrs Caroline Opara, the Director of Forestry, FCTA, advocated for an awareness campaign against the poaching and selling of endangered species in the FCT.

Opara also said that the Endangered Species Act of 2016, stipulates stringent penalties for wildlife-related crimes.

“This is a crucial tool in safeguarding dwindling populations of wild animals and preserving biodiversity,” she said.

She emphasised that endangered species, when pushed to the brink of extinction by human activities, would disrupt the ecosystem balance.

“The continuous killing of these species not only reduces their populations but also has far-reaching negative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem health.

“For example, the pangolin, known for its voracious insect-eating habits, plays a vital role in regulating insect pest populations, thereby benefiting agricultural productivity,” she pointed out.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the sensitisation was against illegal poaching and trafficking of wildlife species as well as capacity building on honey production.

The event had participants from the FCT Bee Farmers Association, and hunters and youth groups from the six Area Councils of the FCT. (NAN)

Edited by Gregg Mmaduakolam and Abiemwense Moru

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