As part of measures to mitigate the effects of climate change, especially on desert encroachment, the Yobe State Government has planted 3 million trees and handed it over to locals for ownership and sustainability, director planning at State Ministry of Environment, Hassan Musa has said.
Experts estimated that Nigeria is losing over 350, 000 hectares of land to desertification annually and between 50 per cent to 75 per cent of states such as: Yobe, Borno, Jigawa, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Kano, Gombe and Bauchi are not only affected by desertification but, prone to wind erosion.
Musa who was speaking on the efforts of the ministry in tackling desertification said, the administration of Hon Mai Mala Buni has, on inception, decided to approach issues of climate change with utmost priority through formulation of a comprehensive climate change action plan for the state.
He said under the programme, the government decided to raise and plant over three million seedlings of assorted species of gum Arabic and other economy trees in 2020 and laid emphasis on survival and maintenance of the planted trees for effective fight and desert control across the state.
“You see, the only striking balance to climate change is tree planting and as such, the Yobe State Government has so far within last year, raised 3 million seedlings of assorted species, planted some and distributed others to individuals and stakeholders for plantation.
“Government established 100 hectares of land and planted Gum Arabic and other economic trees across the three senatorial districts each, where 100 persons were allocated hectares each and empowered with a monthly stipend to ensure maintenance and ownership.
“As I am talking to you, due to this measure, we are able to achieve 85 per cent success of the plantation, as against less than 20 per cent that we usually attain in the previous years,” the director disclosed.
Musa stated that the government has also redesigned and demarcated Dosuwa Forest Reserve to guard it from encroachment, while cooking gas cylinders were also distributed to 870 individuals, all geared toward mitigating the impact of climate change of which desertification is a product.
Residents of Yusufari, Geidam, Bukarti and Machina, all at the northern fringes of Yobe State, with high level of desertification and sand dunes, restated the need for more action on the fight against the phenomenon due to its devastating effects.
Mustapha Bukar Yusufari said, “We can no longer determine the exact time of rainfall nor can we postulate when the rain will stop, hence agricultural production is declining yearly.”
Also Yuram Momodu of Bukarti in Yunusari local government area said, “Despite government efforts in desert control through several measures including sand dunes fixation, our people are still at risk of losing their farmlands and other means of livelihood to desertification which experts attribute to global warming.”