The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has called on the incoming administration to urgently look into the on-going Green Great Wall Project of the Federal Government to ensure its proper implementation and monitoring.
At the 25th Annual General meeting of the Foundation in Lagos, NCF President, Izoma Philip Asiodu said that the Federal Government had announced that it had made a commitment of N10 billion towards the implementation of the African Union-backed programme, the Great Green Wall. The project, according to the plan, brings together 11 countries to plant trees across Africa 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. The Nigerian Project stretches from Zamfara and Kebbi States in the North West corner along the northern border of Nigeria to the extreme eastern border in Borno State.
Asiodu however observed that such a 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.
According to him, the failure to implement such a good project had allowed the sands of 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, thus greatly increasing the grave insecurity situation in this region that we are faced with today.
"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 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.
According to him, one of such areas is natural resources. In the past, scientists reported that, in the 21st century, the security of nations will depend increasingly on the security of natural resources, or “natural security.” The global economy and local economies all rely on the availability of portable water, arable land, fish stocks, biodiversity, energy, minerals and other renewable and non-renewable resources to meet the rising expectations of a growing world population. Yet the availability of these resources is by no means assured.
"As I speak now, the desert encroachment continues unabated, the communities in north eastern Nigeria are groaning because their land has been taken over by desert encroachment. The crisis between the pastoralists and the nomadic Fulanis over land persists, sands of the desert continue to ravage thousands of square kilometers of former pasture lands, turning them into uninhabitable desert and hundreds of thousands of pastoralists into environmental refugees, thus greatly exacerbating grave insecurity in the region. Also, our security agencies in their framework should consider natural resources in day-to-day operations. There is the need for understanding of the role of natural resources particularly forests in promoting our security interests" he said.