Chief Ede Dafinone, Chairman, National Executive Council of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) led his siblings on a tree planting exercise in Sapele on Monday, 30th September 2019 in memory of their father, late Chief (Senator) David Omueya Dafinone, OFR who passed on, on 30th September 2018.
According to Chief Ede Dafinone: “When a great man dies we typically say ‘an Iroko has fallen’. So, it is appropriate that this day, an Iroko seedling will be planted in the garden of the crumb rubber exporting factory established by my father in Amukpe, Sapele, Delta State.”
Chief Dafinone hopes to use the tree planting exercise to draw attention to Nigeria’s dwindling forest cover which now stands at about 4% while also drumming support for the conservation efforts of NCF. He said further that tree planting to commemorate births and deaths is common in some Asian countries and if this trend is established in Nigeria, it can become one of the anchors of NCF’s Green Recovery Nigeria (GRN) initiative.
Dafinone said: “To plant a tree is to send a signal to the rest of Nigeria that we need to preserve our land. This Iroko tree planted in my father’s memory will grow up to 500 years. While some people are cutting trees and destroying forests, we will continue to plant trees”
Hon. Emmanuel Agbaje, the Finance and Admin Manager of Sapele Integrated Industries Ltd (SIIL) in his introductory remark revealed that Senator Dafinone established the factory in 1995 for the processing of rubber because Sapele is known for large rubber plantation and the founder of SIIL remained one of the largest employers of labour of the time. Chief Ede Dafinone, appreciated the support of the staff of SIIL and community people of Sapele, Amukpe especially as they have immortalized the Senator a day before.
Present at the event were Chief (Mrs.) Cynthia Dafinone, widow of the Senator; Chief Godfrey Dafinone, deceased brother; Mr. Duvie Dafinone, the deceased's son; Mrs. Eyamba Dafinone and Mrs. Stella Dafinone, daughters-in-law; management staff of SIIL, media, security agents among others.