Heritage Bank Plc has thrown its weight behind Globus Resources Limited, a subsidiary of Triton Group, to flag off the second phase of afforestation programme in Oyo state.
The bank, as the first financier, had earlier financed the first phase of the project and offered N2billion long-term facility to enable Triton Aqua Africa Limited, (TAAL), expand its aquaculture businesses - nursery/hatchery, for the production of fingerlings and brood stock in Ikeja, Lagos; and earthen ponds for catfish and tilapia in Asejire, Iwo and Gambari towns in Oyo. Under the programme, Globus Resources is expected to plant about 350,000 seedlings of teak, Gmelina arborea and Cidrella trees yearly, over a period nine years, in a bid to re-forest about nine thousand hectares of land in Gambari village in Oyo state, which had been exploited by tree fellers for timbers among others. Speaking at the event, Ifie Sekibo, Managing Director/CEO of Heritage Bank, commended the governor of the state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and the Triton Group, for the initiative between the state and Globus Resources to reforest the area again. “We seemed to forget that our lives as Nigerians/Africans started with the land. 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 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’’. On his part, Ashvin Samtani, Chairman/MD of Triton Group, said the group has been operating in Nigeria for about 40 years, remarking that they are Nigerians, not expatriates, adding that beyond the tree planting initiative, the group intends to employ about 5,000 people. The chairman of the occasion, Akinwale Moradayo, Dep. Director of Forestry in the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, Oyo State, who stood in for the Commissioner, Oyewole Oyewumi, also stressed the need to do something to protect the land, so that its inhabitants would not be consumed.