The Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA has warned residents against felling trees in their private compounds or public places, saying anyone cut would be made to pay a fine of N100, 000.
According to the Department of Parks and Recreation in the territory, it is an offence for residents to cut down trees planted in private compounds without permission from the government.
Director of the Department, Hajia Riskatu Abdulazeez disclosed after a tour of some areas where flamboyant trees are planted within the city centre.
Abdulazeez noted that once trees planted in private houses have grown, they have become public property and it would require the permission of the government before they can be removed.
She explained that the government is making efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change on the city and won’t allow reckless actions that can further endanger lives and livelihoods.
According to her, after any tree is cut down with the permission of the Department, it is also mandatory that two trees are planted as a replacement for each tree removed.
She further explained that even estate developers who remove trees to pave ways for their projects are also compelled by law to pay fines and replant the trees.
She added that trees are not just planted for environmental protection alone, but for beautification and aesthetic appeal.
“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, such person will pay a fine of N100,000 per tree and will also be compelled to plant a minimum of two trees as a 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.
“We don’t plant trees for environmental protection alone, but for beautification and aesthetic appeal. Trees in general have enormous benefits and importance for human beings. The oxygen we breathe is from the trees, we breathe out carbon dioxide which the trees use to live.
“Apart from the life the trees give us, they also douse noise, reduce glare and mitigate 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 ways for their construction, most of them apply for permission to remove trees and they are also made to pay before removing the trees”, Abdulazeez added.