The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has warned the it is now an offence for residents to arbitrarily fell down trees planted in private compounds without authorisation, and that such act will attract a fine of N100,000.
The Director, Department of Parks and Recreation of the FCT, Riskatu Abdulazeez, issued the warning over the weekend.
She said anyone caught cutting down grown-up trees both in private compound and in public places would be subjected to a fine of N100,000 per tree, depending on the age and girth of the tree.
Abdulazeez said the decision was to mitigate the effects of climate change on the city and prevent reckless actions that can further endanger lives.
“Cutting down of trees is now prohibited in the city; we have a penalty for such action. 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 a public property. We don’t plant trees for environmental protection alone, but for beautification and aesthetics appeal,” Abdulazeez said.
She also declared that even after any tree is cut down with the permission of the department, it is also mandatory that two trees are planted as replacement for each tree removed.
According to the director, estate developers who remove trees to pave ways for their projects are also compelled by laws to pay and replant the trees.
She noted that trees in general have enormous benefits and importance for humans, as the oxygen is from trees, while in return, trees use the carbon dioxide emitted by human beings to survive.
“Apart from the life the trees give us, it also douses noise, reduces glare and mitigates the effects of climate change. We are all feeling the effects of climate change, which is attributed to the rate at which we cut down trees, leading to deforestation,” she said.