By Garba Musa
Due to the fast encroachment of the desert in the Sahelian/Savannah regions, various efforts from the stakeholders namely, the United Nations and concerned countries, to mitigate the scourge has been put up.
Here in this nation, the tree planting campaign was manifest during the several military administrations in the country.
Every year, I could recall, states in the Northern region embarked on the tree planting campaign with the military governor leading the annual ritual.
Commendably, we have seen some beautiful and scopes well tuned with desert resistant trees along Kano’s borders with Daura to the West, Garkin Jigawa to the East and other areas.
The administration of late Police Commissioner, Alhaji Audu Bako did a lot in this regard.
These artificial forests still remain to the credit of Audu Bako, in spite of serious land speculators. The forest reserve at Kurna is now a market emitting heat to the ecosystem.
However, it came to me as a pleasant surprise when the Kano State Government, through its Ministry of Environment, revived and resumed the tree planting tradition in the state.
News abound in the media that the state government has approved the planting of 1,000,000 trees around the width and breadth of the state to halt the encroachment of the desert and improve the ecosystem.
This is a very good initiative and a step in the right direction. Already, the indefatigable, but unsung young commissioner of the ministry, Dr. Kabiru Ibrahim Getso, has set the ball rolling.
This is one of the most performing executive members of the state and has been showing good leadership in the ministry as he did in the health sector.
No wonder the tree planting campaign is taking a serious and positive progress. And interestingly, he was himself seen heading the ministry’s officials on all the tree planting outings, be it at Mosques, Churches, schools, private buildings and so on.
This is not only commendable but a real appreciation of the situation the whole Arewa (North) is in, with regards to rapid desertification facing us glaringly in the face. Any lover of nature and a good ecosystem will give a helping hand to this onerous effort.
To me, it is in the person. So many people have held fort at the ministry without recourse to the menace of desertification. But this young man, with an innovative mind took up the challenge and kudos to the state governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, for believing in him and giving him (the commissioner) the resource with which to accomplish this important task.
Any discerning observer will recall the rate at which our sparse forests were being depleted by firewood merchants who daily ravage the environment with cutting of trees for profit. The resultant effect was a desolate land unfit for farming and a death trap as erosion will run down the top soil and no trees to give cover to the soil.
The end result of this island dilapidated, desolate and inhabitable. Hardly, do we plant trees to replace those destroyed and even if planted, no serious protection is given to see them nurtured to maturity for say 10 to 15 years.
We have to change for the better by planting trees everywhere as being carried out now.
It is a welcome development therefore when I learned that the ministry has reached out to private school proprietors to imbibe the tree planting campaign.
By this move, our young ones will grow up to appreciate nature and the importance of having cool atmosphere that will emit moisture into the sky for much desired rainfall as geographers will make us to believe.
At this juncture, I will venture to advise that as a matter of policy, all schools in the state, boarding and non-boarding should embark on tree planting campaign without relenting.
Perhaps a Tree Planting Club should be set up in schools for the students to come to terms with the need for more trees in our environment.
With an experienced information/public relations executive in the ministry in the person of Sunusi Abdullahi Kofar Na’isa and the staunch doggedness of the commissioner, Dr. Getso to always accomplish duties or policies with a clinical precision of a medical doctor that he is, I believe the state will adhere to this campaign to the satisfaction of all and sundry.
Musa, retired civil servant, who lives in Kano, is Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management.