The Multi-purpose Hall of Alim Royal Hotel and Suits, Abuja, was full of Strategic Combatants of desertification, whose attires of civilian traditional wears and suits were deceptive in view of the combat duties they were gathered to perfect. It was the first day of a two-day brainstorming session of the National Alliance for Great Green Wall for the Sahara and Sahel Initiative(GGWSS) organized by the National Agency for Great Green Wall(NAGGW)

From right, Dr. Bukar Hassan, DG/CEO of NAGGW, Emmanuel Onorinde, representative of the Minister of Environment and Dr. A.D. Umar, member, Board of Directors of NAGGW, piloting affairs from the high table.

The event was the equivalence of a War Room for the confrontation of the desert in Northern Nigeria, an economic menace that is not quite different from a frontal warfare which is on record to be permanently marching towards Central Nigeria on its way to the country’s Southern regions at a staggering speed of 0.6 kilometers per annum. Resource persons and field Project Implementation chain officers drawn from State Agencies and Nongovernmental Organizations, led by Nigeria’s Droughts and Desertification control veteran and current Director General/CEO of National Agency for Great Green Wall, Dr. Bukar Hassan, dispassionately hit hard at the human, psychological and funding obstacles that are expected to stand face to face against the successful implementation of the Nigerian segment of the Great Green Wall and how to tackle them successfully without succumbing to an option of failure. Importantly, the Director General pointed out that the task of successfully taking the battle to the desert in the front line states has much to do with the deployment of quick ┬áproblems solving personal initiatives in an environment peopled by poverty threatened populations. He emphasized that where necessary situations arise, Field Officers should quickly resort to higher offices for project salvaging monetary needs even where such were not initially budgeted for but crops up as peculiar needs for the success of particular Project sites. Real time project threatening problems expected from every aspect of all people-targeted projects were raised by participants and roundly addressed by the Director General on the first day.

The DG/CEO, laying down the rules of engagement for the battle against desertification.

Dr. Hassan H. Bdliya of ES, HIKYB TRUST FUND, Damaturu delivered an incisive talk on Strategies and Considerations for the Management of Water Resources in Dry Land Areas during which all the ugly aspects of Climate Change on water availability in the desert threatened areas of Nigeria and needful effective management technics were highlighted to the participants’ expressed appreciation. Short and Long Term Strategic Planning on Water Management in the face of Climate Change was key in Dr Bdliya’s address, pointing out that in relation to Nigeria and other countries around the Lake Chad region, the affected countries’ funding needs for mitigation projects around Lake Chad is simply too high for the concerned nations and this should form the major Agenda at international fora on Climate Change.

Resource person and representative of International Union of Conservation of Nature, delivering his speech

Barister.Sylvester Aroboi Okonofua, a consultant, presented a paper on Land Degradation, Security and Conflict Management, the Role of the GGW Programme, in which he examined the great roles a successfully implemented GGW project in Nigeria can bring to bear on Conflict resolution in the country and its neighboring nations, concluding that all hands of all Development Agencies, Nongovernmental Organizations and Corporate Citizens need to be on the deck towards the achievement of peaceful avoidance of Land Degradation motivated conflicts amongst peoples and groups.

Cross sections of the gender sensitive participants

Professor I Verinumbe and Professor Johnson Onyibe brainstormed with participants on The Prospects of Agroforestry Value Chain for Rural Development in the Dry land Region of Nigeria and Capacity Building, Community Mobilization and Enhanced Extension Services for Effective GGW Implementation respectively.

Cross sections of participants

Dignitaries present at the event included Dr. A. D. Umar, an Environment and Human Development activist and Executive Director of Yakamata Development Initiative who is also a member, Board of Directors, National Agency for the Great Green Wall. Others included a representative of the Minister of Environment, Emmanuel Onorinde and Chris Magero, representative of International Union of Conservation of Nature(IUCN) amongst others.

Cross sections of participants

Cross sections of participants

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