Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Mallam has observed that unless the problems of land degradation and desertification are addressed, achieving sustainable development in the dry region of the country will not be feasible.
She explained that desertification is the prominent ecological disaster resulting from climatic variation threatening the sustainable development of the dry lands in Nigeria.
Mallam said at the Northeast stakeholders’ forum on the Great Green Wall (GGW) held in Bauchi Thursday that the forum is part of strategies adopted by the agency to raise public awareness and mobilize them toward the implementation of the programme in Nigeria.
She said that the forum with the theme ‘The GGW Project as a panacea for sustainable land resource management” lauded the achievement of the Agency with the establishment of 80 ha community orchard in the 11 frontline states as well as constructing 92 solar and wind powered boreholes.
Represented by the Head of Afforestation Programme Coordinating Unit (APCU) Kano state, Alhaji Saminu, the Minister said that before the end of the year the agency will establish 800hecter grazing reserves in Zamfara, Katsina, Yobe and Borno states.
The hardest hit states are Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara states in northern Nigeria.
The National Coordinator and Chief Executive Officer Great Green Wall, Alhaji Goni Ahmed had said in a welcome address that the conference was poised to address the status challenges and prospects.
Ahmed, represented by Head Afforestation Unit GGW NAGGW, Mr. Babatunde Akinola explained that the programme is geared to contribute to sustainable development through employment creation, product development, poverty reduction and income generation.
The National Coordinator said, “We consider the theme at this time because of the current environmental challenges and the important roles that resources are expected to play”.
“Key among these natural resources is forests of different types and formations. What is missing is our inability wherewithal to harness these invaluable resources for benefit of society”.
Bauchi State Deputy Governor, Sagir Aminu Saleh said in a remark that nine local government areas selected for the implementation of the programme in the state with only two local governments so far benefited.
The Deputy Governor said that facilities such as boreholes, community nurseries and two hectors of orchard and five hectors of woodlots plantation were provided in six communities.
Saleh, who is overseeing the Ministry of Environment, was also represented at the forum by a Permanent Secretary, Mr. John I. Maina