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Polaris Bank Partners NCF on Land Restoration, Tree Planting

Polaris Bank ED, Chris Ofikulu, & TASUED Dep VC, Prof. Adekunle Adeogun receiving the 3 tree species from the NCF Project Officer in Ijagun, Ijebu Ode, Ogun State.

In pursuit of its Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR), Polaris Bank Limited, is partnering the Nigeria Conservation Foundation (NCF), on land restoration through tree planting initiative.

The bank’s initiative, kicked off recently with a tree planting project at the Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ijagun, Ijebu Ode, Ogun State.

At the event held in front of the university’s council chamber, the institution’s Vice Chancellors, Prof. Olumide Banjo, represented by his deputy, Prof. Adekunle Adeogun, was full of praises for the bank’s support for the school.

Speaking at the event, the Polaris Bank Executive Director, Chris Ofikulu, said the tree planting initiative, was borne out of the institution’s commemoration of the World Environment Day in June 2024.

According to Ofikulu, the 2024 theme focuses on “Land Restoration, Desertification, and Drought Resilience,” which aligns with the United Nations Decade of Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030).

He said: “In support of this, Polaris Bank has committed to sustainable practices and land restoration by planting trees nationwide in regions affected by erosion, such as Ogun State.

“It is noteworthy to mention that we are commencing this initiative with Ogun State.

“At Polaris Bank, sustainability is not just a catchphrase. It is our ethos. It is a journey in which we are committed to walk in with conviction.

“Our sustainability practices involve promoting responsible banking, empowering people and society, addressing environmental issues, and sustainable economic growth.

“We aim to ensure that every decision we make, from investments to operations, is guided by the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles.

“Our choice of TASUED as the starting port for the bank’s tree planting project is borne out of our long-standing relationship with the University, which commenced with the erstwhile SKYE BANK in 2007.

“The relationship has today remained very cordial and mutually beneficial to both organizations.

“Today’s tree planting exercise at Tai Solarin University of Education in collaboration with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) is a testament to our commitment to these sustainability principles.”

Ofikulu said the bank shares its dedication to encouraging sustainable economic growth and appreciating the importance of environmental preservation.

His words: “This project aligns perfectly with the World Environment Day, in addition to reducing carbon footprints and enhancing our natural ecosystem. It also aims to promote public awareness regarding the importance of environmental preservation.

“The benefits of our tree-planting initiative cannot be over-emphasised.

It will contribute significantly to the restoration of degraded areas, the prevention of soil erosion, and the enhancement of overall environmental health.

“This tree-planting project signposts Polaris Bank’s way of giving back to the society through dedication to environmental stewardship and community well-being, promoting a greener future through Corporate Responsibility.”

While stating that the initiative would involve planting of 500 trees, Ofikulu, said 250 seedlings would be planted in the university while the remaining 250 would be planted in another part of the state that would be determined later.

Speaking at the event, the TASUED Vice Chancellor, Prof Oluwole Banjo, said Polaris Bank had contributed immensely to the development of the university.

The vice chancellor represented by his deputy, Prof Adekunle Adeogun, appealed to Polaris Bank to give more support for TASUED promising that the relationship shall be for mutual benefits.

In his address at the occasion, Ayodele Alamu, Senior Manager, Partnerships, NCF, said the whole essence of the initiative is to achieve afforestation and restore the forest cover in Nigeria.

Alamu said the vision of the NCF is to achieve at least 25% of forest cover in the country.

He said: “Today, deforestation is a big challenge such that our forest cover which used to be 30 percent years back is now in between 6 to 8 percent and the consequences of this is land degradation, erosion, among others

“However, efforts such as this tree-planting project being done in partnership with Polaris Bank and TASUED will really help to arrest this challenge and enhance sustainability of our environment.

“It is what everyone of us must get involved in to fight the climate change and the attendant negative consequences.”

Other dignitaries at the event were Mrs. Bukola Oluyadi, Group Head Customers Experience and Value Management, Rasheed Yusuf, Group Head, Ondo/Ekiti, Abiodun Daramola, Group Head Ogun/Oyo and Yemi Akinrelere, Head, Sustainability and Consumer Protection among others.

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