Environment: Poor policy implementation as North’s dilemma

We were once told in the school that the amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorates would enhance the socio-economic status of the latter region and the nation at large. The British colonial masters, according to our teachers, have surveyed the land mass and established various forest and grazing reserves across the region. Cattle routes were also established to enable herders to move across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria without causing any blame or skirmishes to any community.

The reserves otherwise known as Protracted Areas and the Cattle Routes were strengthened with appropriate Edicts that deterred encroachers throughout the years. Significant literatures have accorded us with the graphic details on how Nigeria depended on its Forest Reserves for the production of timber. The Protected Areas have also remained as the nations’ sources of animals and vegetable species, water, conservation of soil and Recreation joints for indigenous and foreign tourists in the country.

As an essential economic component for the growth of any nation on the globe, deliberate efforts were geared up by successive governments to safeguard the Cattle Routes, Forest and Grazing Reserves across the Federation. Few others were also established to augment the existing ones in order to tame the growing trend of desertification in the northern axes exposed in other related calamities. All such policies were evolved and implemented with maximum commitment by the colonials to improve, sustained and maintain the beauty of our environs.

Pertinent to these objectives, the region, hitherto, splitted to 19 States had set up a good number of Nurseries for raising of various tree seedlings to checkmate the advancement of desertification. By so doing, herders or Cattle Rearers had the liberty and freedom to move in peace, enhance their trade and wellbeing of other heterogeneous communities that dotted the nation until these late hours marking the first quarter of the 21st century.

All the desert-pruned states like Borno and Yobe, Jegawa, Kano and Katsina that extended to Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi were from time immemorial, the hubs of these nurseries all year rounds. Of the duo latter states, Sokoto and Kebbi had the worst devastation effects of the scourge. They are yet to register the expected legacy in the containment of the trend desertification to this moment. The shelter belts earlier formed by the foreign administrators still dotted certain parts of these States which were supposes to be doubled or triplicate the figure we inherited after and before 1960.

Such devastations had in the 1980s engulfed a village, Gidan Kaura, Gada Council area, Sokoto State, that was submerged by sands dons. That case drew the attention of the United Nations (UN) chair after the then Military President Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida visited the community in 1986. Worthy to highlight the hard hit states have refused to follow the steps of the United Nations and other donor Agencies as they failed in their efforts to stem the scourge of desertification rising in their midst. One would continue to wonder as to why such important policies summer salt and remain as a national dilemma.

Part of such poor policy implementation derive was the two million seedlings raised by the Kebbi Ministry of Environment for the launching of the 2012 Afforestation-cum-tree planting campaign programme. The then commissioner of the ministry confided that the government had liaised with farmers and other stakeholders, the traditional rulers, life and retired civil servants as well as youths and women groups to realize the objectives of the programme across the State.

As a policy frame work, the commissioner further disclosed that a Team was empowered to liaise and allocated various seedlings to all sections of the communities and organizations in the State. These he said, included traditional rulers and their wards, churches and mosques, the Nigeria Police Force NPF Headquarters, Educational Institutions, youths and women groups operating in Kebbi State.

He discloses that the government had engaged 2,000 youths and accorded them with working tools and N9,000.00 each for five months. They were deployed to nurture the tree seedling at various settlements in their respective council areas. It is almost one decade past since the celebration of the 2 million tree seedlings/Afforestation campaign was conducted in Kebbi State. Neither individuals nor the aforementioned institutions could comfortably testify the impact generated from that exercise traced to 2012 to date in any part of the state. These states have turned every July of the year to serve as their traditional tree planting campaign that metamorphosed to insignificant programme of alarming proportion.

Furthermore to the menace was the emergence of banditry and cattle rustlings that now overtook the entire region. A great poser to say the least. 

 Kende writes from Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi state via

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