The Federal Government cannot do it all as regards management of the environment. In the case of responding to the issue of desertification in Nigeria it needs the contribution and participation of the front-line states.
A sector-wide approach, which brings together governments, donors and stakeholders, will be more effective. The strategies that the Federal Ministry of Environment claims to have developed is not spelt out in this News Agency of Nigeria Report. Any strategy that leaves out other sectors and stakeholders will not achieve desired result. The Ministry of Environment should involve the LGAs as well as the communities in these front-line states.
Ministry to mitigate impact of desertification on buffer states, says Official
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN),Thu, 04/04/2013
The Federal Ministry of Environment has developed strategies to ensure that buffer states are not affected by desertification battering the frontline states.
Dr Bukhar Hassan, Director, Drought, Desertification and Amelioration Department of the ministry, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja that the the buffer states, also referred to as neighbouring states, comprised Niger, Kaduna, Plateau, Taraba and the FCT.
“The 11 frontline states are on the war front with desertification. Desertification in Nigeria is caused by the moving of the Sahara desert southwards into the country and the first ports of call are these states.
“These frontline states are Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Kastina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara.
“This is where most of our actions are carried out.
“We have also put a lot of efforts in these areas; in the buffer states, we try to reduce the possibility of desertification in these areas, while in the North, we try to restore the degraded areas.’’ he said.
Hassan said it was worrisome that some settlements especially on the borders between Nigeria and Niger Republic had been over taken by the desert.
The director explained that the large population in the settlements was forced to migrate to the buffer states due to the encroachment.
“So, the natural resources in that state now will be under strain and once they are being under strain, the next thing you will realise is that there won’t be any sustainability in the natural resources management.
“And once you don’t have sustainability, the next thing you get is scarcity of natural resources and once you get scarcity, the result of that is anybody’s guess.’’ he said.
According to the director, desertification is making the forests in the frontline states to disappear.
“We cut down trees for cooking and this is made worse by the advancing desert because trees are felled without replacement and it makes the problem much more difficult to solve.
“We also have a lot of influx of people from other states to cut down the trees which they use as cooking fuel and for other purposes.’’ he said.
Hassan observed that such visible effects of desertification had affected the economy of the country.
He stated that the ministry had stepped up awareness campaign on climate change as evident in the increasing desert encroachment
“What we are doing now is that we are talking to stakeholders like the wood sellers association, to make them understand the need to sustain the environment even as they do their businesses.
“We are encouraging them to plant more trees because it is not using firewood from trees that is hurting us but the fact that they do not plant trees to replace the ones they have cut down.”
The director stated that the frontline states would work out a framework that would consist of rules and economic agenda to sustain the environment.