From Mathew Jwantu, Minna
The Niger State Government has banned local production of charcoal in its bid to cut deforestation.
The State has set up a Special Task Force, codenamed “Cracked Team” to arrest and try charcoal producers in the State.
This follows “incessant felling of trees” for commercial charcoal production in the State, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Mr. Lucky Barau told Journalists in Minna, Monday.
If unchecked, the act could lead to “environmental and health hazards to the state and its people,” Barau said.
“Niger state is today ranked the highest producer of charcoal in commercial quantity which is not only consumed within the state but is also exported to neighboring countries. This is done at the detriment of the state and the future generation.
“It is robbing the future generation of the benefit it will have from natural resources,” the PS explained.
Government according to him is working out alternative energy sources for household use.
It has also received about 1.7 million seedlings from the Forest Research Institute of Nigeria for planting across the State, said the official.