By Mahmoud Sillah
The Rokel commercial Bank one of the leading financial institutions in Sierra Leone on 21st July, 2022 celebrated its third anniversary of its tree planting projects at Petifu Village, Masiaka .
In his keynote address the Minister of Environment Prof. Foday Moriba Jaward highlighted the importance of tree saying it multitude of benefits to humanity and the environment as a whole . Continued that the tree act as environmental buffer for entire ecosystem, provides economic opportunities, filter and regulate water ,prevent flooding therefore as a responsible government they are encouraging other financial institutions and other environmental and climate change conscious organizations to emulate the good initiative of the Rokel commercial Bank on its tree planting project. He also uses the opportunity to admonish the community people of Petifu village not to target these tree for charcoal burning and purposes that are inimical to environment and climate change related issues, adding in these trees are going to benefit not only the community but the country as a whole therefore should not be destroy at its early stage . He emphasized on the enormous pressure the environment has been subjected to due to human activities such as charcoal burning, timber logging, agricultural activities and mining but the culture of tree planting and sustaining it is limited. Also noted that land degradation and habitat loss are real as we have been seeing number of disasters and climate change is real as it has resulted to global warming and unpredictable weather pattern therefore we need to inculcate the habit of tree planting and care for them for environmental sustainability for living organisms. He registered the New Direction government commitment towards tree planting as they are targeting five million trees by 2024. He ended by encouraging the security forces more especially the Sierra Leone Police and other security appendages for enforcement of laws to protect the environment for our survival.
Executive Director of Shout Climate Change Africa (SCCA) Finnex John Asibor highlighted the negative effect of climate change which he described as is even worse than anything we can think of even the war between Ukraine and Russia. He therefore called on world leaders to the mitigating measures seriously for the interest of innocent people all over the world. He also caution the gathering that in the case of climate change no one knows when, where and how disasters will occur, noting if if we don’t control it now it is going to be uncontrollable this according to him we might lose our heritage, achievements, businesses even lives . He further emphasize the significance of protecting environment as it has given us the privilege to acquire all that we needed it is destroyed, automatically all we have acquired will be destroyed.
He described the Rokel commercial Bank as one of the the financial institutions that is environmentally conscious and friendly, and that they have supported a lot of environmental activities over the years under the leadership of the Managing Director Amb. Dr Walton Gilpin . He has seen what is ahead and he has started putting modalities in place in his own capacity to prevent danger. He also uses the opportunity to appeal to other corporate institutions to emulate the environmental and climate change related project of Rokel commercial Bank as this effort is laudable for us now and future generation who needs conducive atmosphere environment which the present generation has to prepare.
Managing Director of Rokel commercial Bank Dr. Walton Enkudayo Gilpin highlighted the importance of this tree planting project. According to him some people this kind of project does not fall under the mandates of financial institutions like Rokel commercial Bank but he has contrary view as he has an enormous role for environmental sustainability and the entire ecosystem.
He noted that trees provide numerous roles such as medicinal, prevent erosion, land degradation and flooding adding that the even the we money that we use comes from tree therefore the Rokel commercial Bank take this project seriously. He also call on the community people of Petifu village to protect this tree planting site and as a bank they intend to extend this project to other part of the country as long as the land is provided for that. He added that the bank wan t to see this site is as botanical garden which the tourist will like to visit in the near future. He ended that the management and the entire staff of Rokel Commercial Bank are extremely happy to celebrate the third anniversary of this project.