Twenty-five youthful volunteers are to nurse 250 newly-planted trees in Illela Local Government Area of Sokoto State under the UNDP climate change support programme.
The programme, tagged: “Sahel Youth Eco-brigade Tree Planting Exercise in Border Communities’’, is designed to engage youths in environmental conservation and tracking of small arms in sub-Sahara Africa.
The tree-nursing exercise, themed: “Yes to Greening, No to Illicit Arms’’ was inaugurated in schools and residential areas in Illela, a border town shared between Nigeria and Niger Republic.
The Coordinator, Mr Jonathan Madawaki, said the project was to encourage youths to be part of safeguarding of communities against environmental degradation and arms trafficking in the Sahel region.
Madawaki, a UNDP Programme Analyst said the project was going on concurrently in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger Republic.
Illela in Sokoto State and Jibia in Katsina State are the locations for Nigeria in the programme, he said.
“The pilot project is a UNDP intervention for West and Central Africa affected by climatic changes and security challenges occasioned by small arms proliferation.
“Volunteer youths are empowered with different skills to contribute meaningfully to community development,’’’ Madawaki said.
He added that the UNDP provided watering equipment, manure and other logistics to ensure that the volunteers nursed the planted trees to maturity.
He added that the project was designed to ensure community participation and expressed the hope that it would be expanded to others areas.
In his remarks, the Vice-Chairman of Illela Local Government Council, Alhaji Ibrahim Magaji, expressed appreciation for the UNDP support and said it would enhance peoples’ wellbeing and conserve the environment.
Magaji said the local government’s Agriculture Department would supervise the project to ensure its success.
Leader of the youth volunteers, Nura Abubakar, said they were engaged on the platform of the Young Peace Ambassadors Group of Illela.
Abubakar noted that they received training on various issues and assured proactive engagements in order to achieve the desired impacts.
NAN reports that Alhaji Ibrahim Danzaki, a leader at Araba community led other dignitaries to plant trees in schools and in other settlements. (NAN)