Magnus Eze, Enugu
Some form of green revolution is going on at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike Ikwo, (AE-FUNAI) Ebonyi state, where the institution under its Campus Green Initiative said it has planted 20,000 trees in 2019 alone.
Also, as part of the school’s deliberate efforts at tackling climate change, it recently made history, being the only university in Nigeria that generates its power from solar energy farm.
The AE-FUNAI is no doubt serious about mitigating the effects of climate change; so, the renewable energy project which exited the institution from the national grid, as well as other achievements, has clearly distinguished the young university as one breaking new grounds.
Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof Uzoma Nwajiuba who made the cheering announcement at the 7th public lecture of the University last Thursday, said that the school was integrating both fruit and ornamental trees in the tree planting drive to create a robust sustainable ecosystem for the young university.
The 7th public lecture of the University which was titled: “One tale, multiple narratives: Oracular entrapments at the crossroads of imagination,” was delivered by Professor Augustine Uzoma Nwagbara, a Professor of English Language, University of Lagos.
Nwagbara, the now famous Nigerian Professor who made international headlines after video clip of a talk he had with some Nigerians living in Ghana, was leaked on the internet in June, 2019, is currently on sabbatical leave at the AE-FUNAI.
Nwajiuba said the university has made it a culture to use every auspicious occasion in the university to draw attention of the world to the critical need to protect the environment against the surging negative impact of climate change through tree planting.
He led dignitaries who attended the lecture to plant 20 different species of fruit trees, which Daily Sun gathered, marked the completion of the 20,000 target for the year.
Chief Executive of Nigeria Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, represented by a programme officer in the commission, planted a mango tree. Also, Head, South East Bureau of The Sun Newspapers, Magnus Eze, who represented Chairman of the Editorial Board, Dr. Robert Obioha and a host of other scholars, equally planted trees.
Prior to this period, we were informed that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Ebonyi state Governor, Chief David Umahi, Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola; his Science and Technology counterpart, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, former Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, wife of Nigeria’s first President, Prof. Uche Azikiwe and many other prominent people who had visited the university, had all planted trees and their names were properly tagged on them.
Daily Sun had in June, reported that the havoc caused by the windstorm which followed a heavy downpour in the institution on May 20, this year, saw no fewer than nine buildings destroyed with their roofs blown away.
Aside the female hostels that were badly affected, it pulled down about 15 solar powered security lights, many economic trees, and damaged some equipment, documents, and other office materials.
The affected buildings were the university library, ICT building, Pro-Chancellor’s office, Entrepreneurship and Employability Centre, and the main University Auditorium.
Others were the Faculty of Science Administrative Block and the Needs Assessment building, among others.
The Vice Chancellor said that they had noticed that buildings in settlements in the area where the natives had lived and planted trees were never affected by the devastating windstorms. He therefore, expressed the optimism that the trees when they grow would protect the school buildings and other facilities from the vagaries of nature.
Coordinator of the green initiative, Chukwu Ifeanyi, an architect, gave the whole credit to Prof Nwajiuba for the creative thinking: “When he came in 2016, we started with what we call the Pioneers’ Garden; the pioneer students and management of the university planted trees. Since that year, we’ve been planting trees. This year, the VC now came up with the AE-FUNAI Campus Green Initiative. The aim is to have campus in a garden; to make AE-FUNAI campus in a garden. He appointed me the coordinator in February this year and our target for 2019 is to plant 20,000 trees and this event today has seen us hitting the 20,000 mark.
“We plant with 5-metre spacing in order to create hedges of trees everywhere in the university because of the devastating effect of the wind here.”
He explained that the university relied on donations of trees and money from public spirited individuals to drive the Campus Green Initiative.