Agency Urges States to Make Budgetary Allocations to Fight Desertification

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Patrick Ugeh in Abuja

The Director General, National Agency for the Great Green Wall (GGW), Mr. Goni Ahmed, has urged the governments of States affected by desertification and other dry-land problems to make financial contributions through budgetary allocations for effective management of the crisis.

He also appealed to them to provide land and community mobilisation to support the Great Green Wall programme designed for the purpose of addressing the challenges of reviving the Sahara and the Sahel to regenerate livelihood.

According to a press statement by Larai Daze,

Head, Press and Public Relations Unit, Ahmed spoke at a presentation at the technical session of the 10th National Council on Environment ongoing in Lafia, Nasarawa State.

The DG, who spoke on the topic, “Reviving the Sahara and Sahel to Regenerate Livelihood”, said that drylands in the sub-Saharan Africa cover about 14 million sq km and is habitat to about 70% of crop land and 82% of livestock holders and productivity in these areas are seriously challenged by natural and human factors.

The DG said the National Agency for the Great Green Wall, which was established by an Act of the National Assembly has embarked on activities in realisation of the mandate of the Great Green Wall programme such as establishment of shelter belt/windbreak and woodlot plantations, promotion of agro-forestry and renewable energy, farmers-managed natural regeneration, promotion of human livelihood activities, provision of water and rural infrastructure.

Others are skill acquisitions and employment generation, support for dry lands research efforts, school outreach programmes, sand dune stabilisation, oases development, among others.

In recognition of the land degradation as global phenomena, and the limited success of past efforts, the DG said the GGW initiative was presented by the Nigerian Government to the African Union as a holistic regional approach to combat desertification and improve livelihood of affected communities.

This initiative, he noted, led to the signing of the convention on GGW eleven member-countries and the creation of Pan-African Agency of Great Green Wall (PAGGW) and adopted by the African Union (AU).

He further said that in Nigeria, drylands constituted about 43% of its total land area covering eleven (11) states which were directly threatened by land degradation causing serious food insecurity, abject poverty, forced migration and natural resource use conflicts resulting in insurgency in some areas.

He further said most of the population were dependent on natural and land resources based economy for their livelihoods with over 80% of the nation’s vegetables and livestock produced in the area, stressing that this unique economic hub deserves priority attention by all tiers of government and citizenry.

According to him, one third of the world’s population was said to be living in dry lands, facing huge stress such as repetitive droughts and poor soil fertility which is further worsened by climate change.

The National Council on Environment which an annual event had in attendance stakeholders from the Federal and states Ministry of Environment, NGO’s and private organisations. The Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, is expected to open the Council meeting session during the week.