Monday, May 17, 2021

FCTA imposes hefty fine on unauthorised felling of trees in Abuja

“Once any tree planted in private houses has grown, it becomes a public property that requires the permission of the government before its removal.”

• May 2, 2021
FCT Minister Mohammed Musa Bello
FCT Minister Mohammed Musa Bello

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) on Sunday said cutting down a tree either in a private compound or in a public place without permission would attract a fine of N100,000.

The Director, FCTA Department of Parks and Recreation, Riskatu Abdulazeez, made this known during a tour of the sites where flamboyant trees are planted within the city centre in Abuja.

She noted that once any tree planted in private houses had grown, it becomes a public property that requires the permission of the government before its removal.

“Cutting down of trees is not allowed in the city; we have a penalty. The policy stipulates that if you plant a tree in your compound, once it is grown, it is no more your tree, it has become public property.

“Before such trees are cut down, the permission of the Department of Parks and Recreation must be sought.

“Anyone who cuts down trees illegally, depending on the size and age of the tree, will pay a fine of N100,000 per tree and will also be compelled to plant a minimum of two trees as a replacement,’ she revealed.

She explained that the government was making efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change on the city and would not allow reckless actions that could further endanger the lives of residents.

The director noted that after any tree is cut down with the permission of the department, it is also mandatory that two trees are planted as their replacement.

“Even when permission is granted for anyone to legally remove trees, such trees must be replaced with two trees and if there is no space within the place where the trees were removed, the department will provide a place where the trees can be planted,” she said.

She further explained that even estate developers who remove trees to pave the way for their projects are also compelled by law to pay and replant the trees.

According to her, trees are not just planted for environmental protection alone, but for beautification and aesthetic appeal.

Mrs Abdulazeez noted that nature had made human beings to be dependent on trees for oxygen while the trees also depend on human beings for carbon dioxide.

She stated that trees have enormous benefits and importance for human beings, adding that the oxygen we breathe in is from the trees.

“Apart from the life the tree gives us, it also douses noise, reduces glare and mitigates the effects of climate change.

“We are all feeling the effects of climate change. It is attributed to the rate at which we cut down trees, leading to deforestation.

“As for the housing developers who have been cutting down trees to pave way for their construction, most of them apply for permission to remove the trees and they are also made to pay before removing the trees,” she said.

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