Worried by the detrimental social, economic and environmental impacts of land degradation and desertification in the Sahel and the Sahara, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), has called on the incoming administration to ensure proper implementation and monitoring of the on-going Great Green Wall Project.
The group made the plea at the 25th Annual General Meeting (AGM), of the Foundation in Lagos last week, where NCF President, Izoma Philip Asiodu said the failure to implement such a good project had allowed the sand in the desert to ravage thousands of square kilometers of former pasture lands, turning them into uninhabitable desert and hundreds of thousands of pastoralists into environmental refugees, and increasing the insecurity situation in this region.
Recently, the Federal Government announced a commitment of N10 billion towards the implementation of the African Unionbacked programme, the Great Green Wall.
The project is African countries initiative, aiming at bringing together 11 countries to plant trees across the continent so as to hold back the Sahara desert with a swathe of greenery, which will hopefully lessen the advance of desertification and improve the lives and livelihoods of communities affected by the scourge of climate change.
Nigeria’s aspect of the Project stretches from Zamfara and Kebbi States in the North West axis along the northern border of Nigeria to the extreme eastern border in Borno State.
Asiodu however observed that such similar government and donor projects was announced in the past, “which unfortunately, through neglect and improper implementation, often excluding community participation and ownership, became dismal failures.”
“I hope that the incoming administration will ensure that such neglect and indolence in implementation would not be allowed to befall this extremely laudable green wall project, and that together with our other neighboring states; we would be able to find a permanent solution to the ravaging environmental disaster of desertification”.
The outgoing Chairman of the Foundation, Hamzat Ahmadu charged the incoming administration to attend to other critical areas that if probably utilized and managed would be part of the solution to the security issues facing the country.