Th director-general of the National Agency for the Great Green Wall (NAGGW), Dr. Yusuf Maina-Bukar has marked his one year in office as the helmsman of the agency, giving account of the gains and strides recorded within the period.
Addressing journalists during a press conference at the agency’s headquarters yesterday (April 4, 2023) in Abuja, Maina-Bukar posited that reversing desertification, land degradation and mitigating the effects of climate change in the 11 frontline states of Borno, Yobe, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Bauchi, Gombe and Adamawa is at the core of the Nigerian component of the initiative.
According to him, the agency’s focus has been on the implementation of afforestation and reforestation activities, land restoration and sustainable land management practices and have made notable achievements that demonstrate a positive impact on the environment and the livelihoods of communities in the affected areas.
Some of the agency’s key achievements within the period include the establishment of shelterbelts, woodlots, orchards and, most recently, institutional planting, social and farm foresteads, marketable gardens and large-scale restoration of degraded land to ameliorate the challenges of the environment in the affected communities.
“We have introduced techniques, strategies and approaches to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Great Green Wall afforestation and reforestation programmes such as the half-moon and Zai methods of planting that enhance seedling and tree survival rate, improve soil retention capacity, improve soil fertility and increase vegetation cover.”
Maina-Bukar said the agency obtained ministerial approval for use of the ‘waterbox’ water retention technology to enhance seedling and tree survival rate by 90 per cent during dry season and reduce carbon footprints released into the environment.
“Young people and women in rural communities underwent training sessions on sustainable land management techniques, supporting them to establish tree nurseries, forest plantations and other skills to improve their economic standing,” he stated.
He further pointed out that, over the years, the agency employed different strategies to reach out to communities operational communities.
Maina-Bukar added that in the same light, the agency sought for and obtained it’s governing council’s approval to establish the Great Green Wall Day which will be held on July 13, 2023, as an effective means of enlightening, sensitising and mobilising the public on the agency’s mandate and educate Nigerians on the benefits of planting a tree.
“In a bid to reposition the Agency for effective service delivery, we introduced various reforms and initiatives such as establishing the security services unit to coordinate security support services and reduce operational risks faced by staff of the agency in the security prone areas of the frontline states.
“We have deployed a deputy director to head the Reform Coordination and Service Improvement Unit (RCSIU) to improve service delivery and work ethics.
“To date, the agency has trained more than 1,367 rural community people among the women and youth in various livelihood activities; 275 farmers on climate-smart agriculture techniques and skills required during dry season farming. Over the course of the year, we will continue to support various local and international trainings of personnel to improve capacity and productivity within the agency,” he assured.
He lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment and support to the Great Green Wall Initiative, adding that the agency sought for and obtained his approval to clear Nigeria’s outstanding contributions to the convention of the Pan Africa Agency of the Great Green Wall (PAGGW) from 2018 to date, to the tune of USD 654,291.00.
Also approved he said, was a pledged sum of USD 550,000.00 as Nigeria’s voluntary contribution towards the construction of the Pan Africa Agency for the Great Green Wall (PAGGW) headquarters in Nouakchott, Mauritania and purchase of three vehicles for use of the PAGGW secretariat in Nouakchott.