Group photograph during naming of the park

By Abubakar Hassan

The Regional Centre for Expertise (RCE), Minna has named the park at the Three Arm Zone in Minna, after late Bridget Aisha Lemu.

Speaking during the inauguration and unveiling of the park which was part of activities to mark the 2019 World Environment Day (WED), the Coordinator of RCE Minna, who is equally the Permanent Secretary of Niger State Ministry of Land and Housing, Dr. Abdul Hussain said Late Aisha Lemu has done a lot to make RCE Minna what it is today and they felt the best way to remember her was to name the park after her.

He disclosed that Late Aisha Lemu was a lover of tree planting and that she has planted and supervised the growth of over 1,000 trees while she was alive.

“Hajiya has contributed in making RCE Minna what it is today. When we went to her with the idea she told us to go ahead with it if we believed in what we are doing and she contributed immensely to see that RCE Minna become what it is today. We felt the best way to say thank you for her contribution is to name this park after her,” he explained.

Dr. Abdul also disclosed that the park name ‘Bridget Aisha Lemu Conservatory and Children’s Park (BAL-CCP) is the largest conservatory in Niger State on a four hectare land, with many educative activities and initiative, which will serve as an avenue for children to connect with natural environment along side their parents, teachers and student researchers.

He also revealed that the name of the park was pronounced by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello during the opening ceremony of the 28th National Conference and Annual General Meeting of Nigeria Environmental Society (NES), held last November at the Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre, Minna.

Dr. Abdul explained that the idea behind the park was to provide a befitting outfit for conservatory education and promoting learning opportunities for people of all ages, with emphasis on natural and traditional knowledge of plants. He added that the park was proposed to house the major tree plant species endemic to our region with the ultimate aim of providing a systemic compilation of the entire flora common to Northern Nigeria with their local names, economic and medicinal value.

In her address, the wife of the Governor of Niger State, Dr. Amina Abubakar Sani Bello who was represented at the event by the Permanent Secretary of the state ministry of environment, Hajiya Ramatu Umar said the world environment day was set aside by United Nation for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of the environment.

She said the theme of this year ‘Beat Air Pollution’ calls for action by all of us to come together to combat air pollution which is one of the greatest environmental challenge or our time, saying about 92 percent of people living on earth do not breathe clean air and that air pollution cost global economy five trillion dollar every year in welfare provision.

She also disclosed that about seven million people worldwide die prematurely each year from effect of air pollution, which mostly affect women , children and the elderly, adding that the ground level ozone pollution is expected to reduce staple crop yiels by 2030 which is not acceptable for sustainable development.

The wife of the Governor stressed the need to complement government efforts on environmental degradation and the consequences associated with environmental conservation and management, calling on all to team up against Air Pollution by avoiding indiscriminate open waste burning, bush burning, felling of trees and use of firewood for domestic energy.

She also urged all to explore renewable technology to improve air quality in our cities, as according to her we cannot stop breathing but we can work towards improving the quality of air we breath.

While commending RCE Minna for championing the cause of the park, Dr. Amina Sani Bello promised to partner with RCE towards the realization of the dream it has for the park.

Speaking on behalf of the family, the daughter of Late Bridget Aisha Lemu, Maryam Lemu said it was an honour to be part of the event and commended RCE Minna for initiating the project.

She said she was dull of joy because planting trees was what her mother enjoyed doing while she was alive, adding that the entire family was happy about the gesture and promised to see to the realization of the project.

Maryam Lemu added that if her mother was to be alive she would have participated in the tree planting exercise at the park, saying she has no doubt that her mother was happy at the moment where she is seeing trees benn planted.

She also observed that global warming was a major concern to all and that there was need to work towards salvaging the situation.

There were also goodwill messages from Prof. Muhammad Bashar Nuhu, Dr. Francis Gana and Prof. Muhammad Nasiru Maiturare, where they all explained the importance of tree planting and urged people to adopt tree at the park and to as well plant trees in their homes. They also urged the state ministry of environment to take ownership of the park.

A youth volunteer of RCE Minna gave an overview of what RCE does which he said includes the planting of trees and reducing the effect of climate change on the environment.

Highlights of the event were the unveiling of the signpost of the park and planting of trees by the guests present at the event.