Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari has said that efforts targeted at stopping desertification must be supported as the rate at which it is advancing has become alarming and a serious threat to socio-economic development of frontline northern states.
The governor made the call when he received a delegation from the Ministry of Environment led by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Nana Fatima Mede, and Mr. Goni Ahmed, Director General of the National Agency for the Great Green Wall.
Masari noted that already the state was seriously been impacted by desertification and farmers were finding it difficult to make ends meet.
He urged the ministry in the execution of the Great Green Wall programme to consider the establishment of woodlots to cushion the impact of desertification as well as provide alternative for residents who fell trees for domestic usage.
He assured the delegation of the commitment of the state to success of the GGW programme, saying that the state would make available the land needed for the implementation of the GGW corridor through the state.
Katsina has the longest stretch of the Nigeria component of the Great Green Wall project as the project is implemented in 10 local government areas of the state.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Nana Mede, condoled the governor over the loss of a teenager in the flood that ravaged the state, saying that it was regrettable.
Mede said that efforts were being intensified by the federal government to construct mini water harvesters across the state to store the excess water during the raining season for future use.
She said the federal government was working to ensure that mortality from flood was reduced as much as possible, adding that in 2012 government spent over N17 billion to cushion the impact of the flood that killed so many and damaged properties worth over N20 trillion.
She urged the governor to carry out awareness campaign among the residents to avoid dumping refuse in drainages and also stop building on water ways.
“Government should spearhead the task of clearing drainages as well as open up new ones as the flood problem in the state is as a result of proper drains,” she added.
She also informed the governor of the need for the state to monitor the implementation of federal government environmental programme in the state so as to give feedback on the performing status.
Mr. Goni Ahmed informed the governor of the impact the GGW programme was making in the state.
“Under the implementation of the Great Green Wall, we have been able to construct 35 boreholes, planted a shelterbelt of over 27km and 60 hectares of orchard. Trained over 400 women in various trades and distributed over 42,000 date palm seedling to communities participating in the GGW,” he said.
Ahmed said that plans were under way for the establishment of a skills acquisition centre in Daura to assist citizens of the state in acquiring skills that would enable them earn a living.
He said that Katsina, being one of the largest beneficiaries from the GGW programme, needs the support of the state government especially in the area of release of funds for the new planting season.