Heritage Bank: ‘We need the land to take care of us,’ Bank CEO says

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Heritage Bank CEO, Ifie Sekibo

Mr Sekibo stressed the importance of replenishing Nigeria’s natural resources so that future generations could continue to use them.

When it comes to protecting the environment the Nigerian government is failing its people.

Special days dedicated to the environment come and go but the effects of vast oil spills, gas flaring, rampant pollution, deforestation and poor land management are likely to last for generations.

Millions of Nigerians already suffer from the consequences of environmental mismanagement but millions more, the rich and the poor together, will slowly suffocate if steps aren’t taken to protect Nigeria.

With its motto “Think, Change, Take Action” the government appears to be committed to tackling climate change.

There is even a federal Department of Climate Change and unlike US President Donald Trump, Nigeria hasn’t backed out of the the Paris Climate Agreement.

According to the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Harriet Thompson, the federal government and ‘big oil’ have committed $1billion to clean up the catastrophic mess in Ogoniland.

However, with national debt levels rising to more than N19 trillion and the proclivity of those in power to steal, it would be anyone’s guess as to how much of the $1billion would find its way to where it’s needed most.

Ms Thompson estimated that if nothing was done to negate climate change it would cost the Nigerian government $460 billion by 2050.

On top of this, a recent report found that Nigeria could become the world’s dumping ground for petrol and diesel vehicles.

But it isn’t all doom and gloom and, like a breath of fresh air, some in the private sector have taken it upon themselves to do their bit for the environment and Nigeria’s future generations.

Adding to its already N2 billion investment in Triton Aqua Africa Limited (TAAL), Heritage Bank has jumped on board with plans to plant about 350,000 seedlings in Oyo state.

The initiative, which was being headed by Global Resources (a subsidiary of TAAL), was expected to plant 350,000 seedlings of teak, Gmelina arborea and Cidrella trees every year for nine years in a concerted effort to reforest 9000 hectares of land that had been exploited by tree fellers.

Heritage Bank CEO, Ifie Sekibo commended Oyo state governor Senator Abiola Ajimobi and the Triton Group for getting behind the reforestation program.

“We seemed to forget that our lives as Nigerian started with the land,” Mr Sekibo said.

“If we don't take care of the land, the land will take care of us, the land does not need us, and we need the land to take care of us.

“Afforestation (planting seedlings) is one of the ways to take care of the land and we need to talk about carbon credit because we need to find a way to make money.”

Mr Sekibo stressed the importance of replenishing Nigeria’s natural resources so that future generations could continue to use them.

Not only will this initiative create a renewable resource, employment, and possibly carbon credits, planting trees will help stop erosion and improve Oyo state’s ecosystem.

While talk might be cheap from the government, perhaps the future of environmental protection is in the hands of commercial entities like TAAL and Heritage Bank.

This is a sponsored post by Heritage Bank Plc.

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