In an attempt to ascertain the location of the National Great Green Wall Projects sited in Zamfara State, this reporter undertook a trip to agrarian communities of Kwarin Shinkafi and Faru towns, in Shinkafi and Zurmi local governments areas respectively.
Faru village head when he spoke on NGGW project, showered encomiums on the effort while the Sarkin Yakin Kwarin-Shinkafi lamented the relocation of the project from his domain to another nearby village.
Daily Trust reporter gathered that both the tree planting campaign and construction of solar powered boreholes in Zamfara State are at infancy stage, with the people complaining that the project designed to be executed in their village was relocated elsewhere. Thus while the village head of Kwarin-Shinkafi was lamenting the re-location of the project from his domain to Kurya village, the people of the village of Faru were full of commendation for the National Great Green Wall agency.
A community leader, who introduced himself as the village head of Kwarin-Shinkafi, with the traditional title of Sarkin Yakin Kwari, lamented that the project designed to be implemented in his domain was relocated to Kurya, a nearby village.
When asked whether he was aware of the existence of the NGGW agency’s activities in his areas, he said:
“Some people came to this town with the sole intent of siting a project, but unfortunately enough when we were about to agree on where the project should be sited, they relocated it elsewhere. Unknown to me it was taken to either Kware or Kurya, even though our community is the most deserving to get a solar powered borehole and overhead tank, to enable the government tackle our environmental problems, most especially erosion and desertification.
“Based on what transpired between me and the officials, I decided to phone their boss, in order to intimate him about the whole situation, but my effort proved abortive,” the Sarkin Yaki said.
Daily Trust reporter went to Shinkafi and Zurmi local government areas to assess the impact of NGGW project on the lives of rural dwellers; as well as in curbing desertification. The two local government areas, where erosion and desertification are wreaking havoc, have been identified by the Great Green Wall agency for its projects.
The Sarkin Yakin Kwari and the village head of Kwarin-Shinkafi, further lamented how the NGGW project was relocated from his domain to Kuryar Dambo. The traditional ruler complained bitterly, saying that his people are most deserving and in dire need of such developmental projects.
So if that is the case what would you advise the agency to do for your people?
My advice to them is simply to let them understand that we are in dire need of any effort by the government aimed at combating desertification. And our community is an agrarian one. For this, we would not allow our land to be lost to desertification.
The chief courtier of the Sarkin Yakin Kwari’s palace, with the traditional title of Sarkin Fadan Kwari, chipped in, and narrated how project similar to those of the NGGW’s was implemented in their community within the past 25 years.
He said: “We had a similar project executed in our community about 25 years ago. Many people from our community benefitted from the project.
“Thus, the former chairman of Shinkafi local government, Alhaji Yakubu Abdullahi, who executed the project in conjunction with foreign counterpart was awarded and honoured by the white men. He was given 12 tons of fertilizer and a motorbike. The project had impacted upon the lives of our people,” he revealed.
The Sarkin fada was of the opinion that “if the 25-year-old project executed in Kwarin Shinkafi is to be replicated, the NGGW’s thumbprint will remain indelible for posterity in our community.”
But the village head of Faru, another agrarian community, in Zurmi local government, showered encomiums on the government for constructing a solar powered borehole and overhead tank in his domain.
Alhaji Bara’u Garba, the Dangaladiman Faru, praised the agency based on the fact that he was sent to attend workshop both in Nigeria and Niger Republic.
He said: “I attended workshop in Kano and Zinder in Niger Republic. I learnt about the effort of the Nigerien government in their struggle to contain desertification.”
When asked how his people will complement government effort, he stated that: “In Faru and neighbouring villages, 10 people each were selected and given economic trees. I hope they will plant and water them, to enable them grow and give them shade from the scorching sun), as well as derive some economic benefits, by selling the fruits yielded by these plants.”
Apart from the village head’s testimony, another rural dweller, Lawali Sale Faru, confirmed that his people benefit from the NGGW project. “People fetch water from morning to dusk,” he said.
However, the security guard reiterated his commitment to the agency’s work, but added that his major problem is that he spends over five month without his monthly stipend. “I am employed as forestry guard, after undergoing training in Kano, I was offered a uniform and redeployed to guard NGGW’s facility,” he said.
By and large, the agency needs to create a forum where the beneficiaries of its projects could be both enlightened and allowed to vent their feelings. As noted above even in Faru where people praise the agency for a job well-done, there is a serious problem as the security guard complained of non-payment of his monthly salary.
Though it is at the discretion of the agency to relocate projects, but when such happens, there is need to furnish the public with the reason behind the relocation.
Rural dwellers need to be properly sensitized on how to complement government’s efforts aimed at curbing the menace of environmental problems, most especially in agrarian communities such as Shinkafi and Zurmi.