From: Bamidele Fashube, Abuja
THE National Agency for the Great Green Wall (NAGGW) has unfolded plans of how it intends to realise the 26 million trees President Muhammadu Buhari pledged Nigeria will plant as part of commitments to reduce climate change impact in the country.
It says the project would be executed in seven states while a million trees would be planted and nurtured for the next four years.
Buhari had recently pledged at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) about the afforestation plan as Nigeria’s proposed climate action among other existing on-going plans such as the green bond.
“What is intended is that the programme will run for four years,” Dr. Bukar Hassan, NAGGW Director-General disclosed during an interview.
“It will involve seven states with one million trees a year. A number of factors determine that; availability of land will determine what we can do; the interest of the community and what species they want will also be a factor, as well as the nature and fertility of the land.”
While he advocate strong supports from relevant state governments and individuals, the DG emphasised need to avoid cutting of trees.
He noted that if a tree should be cut down and converted into charcoal or other use, five more ought to be planted as replacement.
According to him, places such as Yobe that lacks normal rainfall and had to strive to get water would need to be supported with proper water facility such that the local communities could take ownership of the project as tree development takes a long gestation period.
He said, except these measures are taken and a strong legislation against deforestation is also enacted, desert encroachment could spread to other states in the country, particularly the food basket of the nation.
“For such a person, you have to help him to plant a tree by providing water source for him to irrigate because it probably rains two months in the whole of the year, so the tree cannot grow. But in other parts of the country, they have what it takes to plant and nurture to grow.
“We want a situation whereby legislation should be done to ban this charcoal thing. Believe me, that is the number one culprit in deforestation, and if we don’t do it, maybe in decades to come, places like Benue, Plateau, middle states will be like Yobe because it is very uneconomical as far as trees are concerned. A bag of charcoal may need up to two or three trees to fill it,” Hassan noted.
The DG also revealed that monies are being released for the project execution since 2019, and efforts are on-going to work with the state and local government officials.
The state officials, he noted would serve as desk officers for the project while representatives from the local government authorities would be brought on-board.
“…contributions will come from institutions, states and the federal so that we will be able to achieve more. However, you will also be able to help us in getting down to the communities and the act clearly states that we must establish institutions at the state and local government levels,” he noted.