Ogun, NSIA, Lafarge Africa seal pact on forest restoration project
The pact, which was sealed during a state visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to France, will aid the creation of a legal entity to develop the project, engage development agencies and climate change funds, and promote it to large agriculture and forestry investors.
According to a statement made available to The Guardian, the project, which is set to transform 108,000 hectares of heavily degraded land into an arable green area, is designed to employ innovative approaches to achieve best-of-breed environmental, social and economic results.
Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State said: “The restoration and enhancement of our forests benefits the environment and creates jobs in rural communities. Increasing the pace and scale of restoration of forests is critically needed to address a variety of threats – including fire, climate change, deforestation and others – for the benefit of our ecosystems and forest-dependent communities. This project will show that enterprise and achieving strong mitigation are mutually supportive in tropical agriculture.
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, Uche Orji stated that “the NSIA Act permits us to participate in infrastructure projects of this nature. We are therefore committed not only to promoting economic development but also to stimulating greater environmental responsibility through the projects we support and participate in.
“We view this project as an important investment in sustainable development and remain focused on facilitating incremental participation in initiatives that reduce carbon foot print across the country and reverse deforestation for the benefit of future generations of Nigerians”.
On his part, Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Lafarge Africa, Peter Hoddinott added” ‘Our strong commitment to the environment and social sustainability of our operations and the communities within which we operate leads us naturally to support the Ogun State project that promises strong positive impact on these issues, particularly on climate change. The use of agro-ecology and agro-forestry principles in these project will increase their productivity, ensuring the land becomes one of Nigeria’s best carbon capture areas and generating biomass waste that Lafarge intends to use to fire its cement kilns.’