From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Federal Government has disclosed plans to borrow $600 million from the World Bank to address environmental degradation in the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
National Programme Coordinator of Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project, Salisu Dahiru, stated this at a consultative engagement with Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL) states level stakeholders, yesterday, in Abuja.
Represented by ACReSAL Water Resources Specialist, Ayuba Anda Yalaks, he said: “The project entails to address the issue and challenges of environmental degradation in terms of deforestation, erosion, store water management, meeting the needs of the people in terms of food production.
“There is need to restore this land to better productive use. Being that we are also restoring the landscape. The project has to be implemented at the community level because the community people are those that are very impacted. We are targeting the 19 northern states plus the FCT. The cost of this project is about $600 million for the period of six years. It is a loan that the Federal Government is obtaining from the World Bank.
“It may interest you to know that this project was not the creation of the Federal Government of Nigeria sitting here in Abuja; it is the project that has the initiation of the various state governments considering the peculiarity and the needs. This project has a high political will whereby all the Nigerian Governors’ Forum had to meeting virtually and chaired by the Northern Governors’ Forum, to ensure that they go on with the project as requested. The states are fully participating and the communities are also aware. Sensitisation is already going on even before the effectiveness of the project.”
Asked why the Southern region was excluded, he said, “the South is affected in terms of gully erosion and flooding. But you know we had a project which was NEWMAP that was to address the issue of gully erosion and land degradation.
“For this particular project like you heard earlier, the aridity index is what is being considered; the drier part of the country because the challenge in terms of water resources management in terms of agricultural production is huge. Agro Climatic Resilient and Landscape.”
Country Manager, HarvestPlus Nigeria, Yusuf Dollah, said the meeting was to enable stakeholders share ideas on how to promote climate tolerant crops.