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Katsina moves to check

Tree p&.odng In KE*a swta.

Severe flooding and desert encroachment have posed constant problem to many govemments in Northem Nigeria But they have defied solution, especially in Katsina State. JAMES DANJUMA, in this piece, looks at the varied ways the govemment is trying to battle these problems.

A

ceordtn g t(l reports, Katsina was among the states fared with serious nooding lasl year,

with devnstatlng effectoD lives and property. II was revea~ that no less than seven persons. Including primar)" school chUdren, lost their lives with public and private property worth millions on naira lost in the pl'ocess. The intervention of the Nalional Emergency

Management Aaellcy, NEMA, the slate government and private bod iru however helped bring some assistance to vlcti::n3 who losi farmlands, houses and other personal belongings to the nood. As a way of forestalling r epeat of the flooding Incident. the katslna State Government decided to begin early dre1!lng and de-sUling of major wa· terways with the exercise beginnlns from the state capital and extending to other flood-prone councll

areas. Speaking rE!Cf-nUy on the issue, the Environment

CommisSioner, Aminu Safana said, the state would 'THE STATE, INITIATED WHAT not take chances as It Is working dlllgenUyto ensure it Is not aITected by the fl ood as happened last year. IS KNOWN AS " PROJECT Safana said the state, Initiated what is known as WInCH IS "Project SHADE" which is Strategic Hazard DemoblUzalion Project, with the aim of having a vast reSTRATEGIC sponder kind of mechanism in the event of emer· gencles like flooding . DEMOBILIZATION PROJECT ~Be that as It may. we went forth to look at the WITH THE AIM OF HAVING A main cause of flooding In KalSlna metropolis be· cause it kept recurring every year, In 2009, 20 10. VAST RESPONDER KIND OF 2011 , and it was more like normal happenings. We came up with generic measur ements. devalu· MECHANISM LN THE EVENT OF atlons, designs and so forth for the whole canals. EMERGENCIES LIKE FLOODLNG' that move out with water from the state metropolis; starting from the Steel Rolling Mill Road through Kuramar Nayalll. from there to Kofar Kaura , to Ko- areas of sensitization to check problem of public far Mar-usa then to Kofar Durbl. and to Kofar Saurl. members from blockin g drainages and water ways. And that Is the terminal or exist point of the storm Salana sa.ld a lot was being done, and that the minis· try does more than advice them but docs more than water. So, we staned the programme last year and we thaL He said the ministry also does a IitLie bit of ca· did Jusl part of It from Ko ramar NayaUl to AdeJeke bridge which takes care of KoCar Kaura, with the joling ror people to understand the dangers associ· hope that we will continue the project lh15 year, and ated with bloclllng water ways and drainages. addthat is what we have just done. We have just inaugu- ing that this is something to do with themselves not only the government." rated the progra mme. Accord ing to him, " the government abo suITers We have been in contact with the meteorological centre and they envisage eady rainfall this year. So losses too in the event of disasters, because I remem· that Is why we want to start early, before the raIny ber In 20 10. we paid reUef package of over NI9 mil· season sets In , we want to finish the projects In· Lion. And this project we are golng to do now would cost that much. And that Is just for only one year. three to four weeks lime." Asked on what his ministry was doing in the And the following year too. that Is 2011. the govern-

SHADE"

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flooding, deserti ica on

' DlFFERENT PROGRAMMES, [NCLUDING PRIVATE AND COMMUNITY WOODLOT PLANTrNG, ARE IDENTIFIED AND SPECIFIC BENEFITS ARE TrED TO IT, AS WAY OF ENCOURAGING PEOPLE TO BE MORE INVOLVED IN FIGHTING DESERT ENCROACHMEN'D ment paid hUll! sums of money as relief package. not compensation but rtllef. "So, you see It's cosling the government as well. So, It 's like the &overnment incurs COSt when pe0ple suffer losses. And we do. number of thin". We try to do enlilhtenment procrammes, jingles. and what have you In faCl, we want to start. publlcalion wblch Is intended to alert people on tbe benefits

to be derived and the Importance of 1001£10& after their envlronment5 which we taiRed "Mohaltn Mu", which is golne to be in two folds. -rhe first fold would be in Encllsh while lheother will be In Haus.. But It will contain the same information, and In one booklet form. We hope to launch it towards the end of this quarter or first month of the third quarter_ Safana, who s poke on other issues, reiterated commitment of the Slate ,overnment to address problem of desertlflcallon as well as what Is presently belng one on the Issue.. Accordina to hlm, the slate has been dolna a 101 "and 1 can teU you, you can go out and find out. In most of the ltates, you would hardly see a Itale thaI raises three, four, five million leedUnes annually" to combat desertlflcation. "And this Is what we have been dOing for the past five yean; we have raised DO 1t!:SS than three to four millIon seedllnp every yeu" He said the state does not only raise seedlings, but trIes to come up with a prolramme thai is more like incentive or performance based, where Ihe best farmer and best schools that have planted trees and consistently nurtured them. are rewarded (or their efforts He said different programmes, includinc private and community woodlot planllnl, are Identified and l pecific benefits are tied to It , as way or encourag-

PwtI;

of ~ S&a.rtected by a - t

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In, people to be more involved In nehtln, desert en croachment He said, for an example, th#> ministry alwaYI,ives a motorcycle to the beSt farmer, .. In terms of wood lot plantation in every local government on yearly basts. Then thts year, we have initiated another pro,ramme which 15 part of the second stage of the Kauina Green Initiative, KGI "The KGI is a pro,ramme whereby we look It ways to preserve the reserve that we have; how to enhance the security and what have you. Then the next slace Is 10 at least replant some of the 1.ree.5 We have this pro,ramme thai revolve. on thesev· en old local governments; we are lolng to plant more lree windbreak. In each of tHe local governments al the distance of one klJometre each And that is a project that will serve two purposes. " First, employment generation . we are loina to create more than 480 Jobs from that We are startinl It this quarter 100. Then we have this prolramme which we are do1n& in collaboration with an orca· nlutlon from Japan; that Is where we want to make the key project In maintaining desertmcallon. .. It Is somethlnllhat has 10 do wilh the 714 local lovernmenll In the country, and it ls called "ProJect 714 " But the pro,ramme will start from Katslna town. We Initiated it but It has been expanded to cover the whole country. The orlaniser Is from Japan and called, Clean Alr Orcanl:r.atlon "Thev have a spedal breed of tree that Is called SaC' ~ rows for more than 15 to 20 meters Ir - vear period and it grows even

In the desert So, what they want is fl.r the s tate government to live them la nd in aU the localeovernmen13, and they want at least 6,000 hectares from all the local governments They will soon come In as they have the seedHnes ready for Ihlpment, and they Intend to [rain at least 3.000 people from each local loverrunent In the dif· ferentltales of the federation. They also Intend toempouer them, aside from engaclnl them In planting of trees That is one of the key programmes we Intend to do, and we are doina 11 In collaboration with the rlrst lad, of the country. BUI there are instances "here woodlou are al lowed to die out due to lack Of maintenance, which Is whatlhe m inistry dOing te avert such catastrophe so that OUT efforu don't end IIlP In fil.tlllty1 "On the IS~lUe of woodlot there are two different thlnes here; we bave commt.nlry and private wood lots. When you go to areaJ Ike Oaura zone, you' U Sefi!I lots of woodlots owned by prIvate IndIviduals. The problem we do have .. IIh (ommunlty woodlots is lack of ownership. '"That ls what bas alway!; be,n tbe cballeng,- So lonl as that ownership ls opt Ibere, you find that people are at liberty to 10 iii and do whatever they like.. So lonl as it is not statqd lhat this woodlot be10RlI:' to so anyone, you fmd that it's not always easy 10 control. "But another issue ts tm t or security. I remem ber that lasl year, we had to enlace the services of security In a forest In Sandt.mu Council Area, because we went there and thel. was nobody. People were there, even from Nicer Republic. They were comin, In to cut down trees and do what ever they liked In the fores t" Safana said that II was I art or the challenges, and that the borden are qulle porous, so lIIe,al mi· grants and locals always cone here to do whatever they like. Also part of Ihe pI oblem is the forest law which we are now worldna 0 11_ '4'he penalty for feUina of trtflis: so lax that PI» pie can afford 10 go out and cut trees with Impunity. You can do it loday and tomonow. The fine Is Just only NSO.OO Salana said he had attended severallnternation· at environmental conventiolls, including the Unit ed Nations Convention to C, mbat Desertlnc.tion, Untted Nations Framework ,'Ohventlon on Cllmale Change amonc othen, and that some of the recommendations a t the conventbns will gradually be applied to address enVl1'Onn ental problems In the state "it is estlmaled thai. the Ct ,untry is currently losIn, about 3.51 .000 hectares of Iu: landmass 10 desert conditions annually. and SLch conditions are es t1maled to be advanclnc lOu th'f/a.r-M at the rate of about O_tikm per year'" Prh lailly, Ihe occupation of the rural communities In northern Niceril are farming and rearing of aninals (livestOCk), therefo~, due to the poverty and npld population ,rowth It lead to eztension of farmland, overjrazlng, bush burnlna, c utting of trees 10 u.:.e far n"wood and oth er domestic purposes, defon sution, over cultivation, poor trrl,allon practic~s, Inappropriate land use by the rural dweUers and these resuh to loss of biological and economkproch..culity of the land.. Facton that millwe agaiR!,t the sUCDI!SSIW implementation eX COlnbatlni: dese.rttncation policy In North·

ern NI&trla are Poverty and detllOg'aphlc factors. PoYeny-environment mtt.ra::tlm are one the key factors that hinder effective nIll ural re90UrCeS manacement in rural areas of developlni countries. Degrada tlon of mil and vegetative re9Owt1!S already threatens agriculture productivity. blodhenlity and water qual Ity and availability in many ' hOI spots' In the devel oplna world


NATIONAL MIRROR, 22 MAY, 2012