President Muhammadu Buhari says planting tree is part of the solution to conflicts in Nigeria and across the Sahel region.
The President, in an opinion article published in Scientific American Magazine, in which more than 150 Nobel laureates have been published, opined that desertification – driven by climate change was exacerbating conflict in Nigeria.
A statement by the President’s spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Thursday, said “the article comes ahead of the project launch later this month by the National Youth Climate Innovation Hub – the organisation mobilising youth in the tree planting exercise”.
President Buhari believed that, in tackling these challenges, the government had resolved to involve young people in the decision-making processes on climate action because, “ultimately, it is their future that shall be affected”.
According to the Nigerian leader, his administration is taking action against the ecological breakdown that drives conflicts.
“Ecological restoration reduces the threat of land disputes.
“Planting trees is part of the solution, and the reason Nigeria is planting another 25 million, on top of the 1 million hectares already reforested.
“The tree planting is part of a larger project: a Great Green Wall that shall stretch across the Sahel to hold back desertification,” Buhari said.
The president argued that to achieve this goal, the project must be driven by communities, innovative climate financing solutions, and a methodical planting based in ecological research.
On the need to plant trees, President Buhari said: “Trees lend a base to build on. They aid water retention in the ground; they shield the land from erosion; and they enrich biodiversity, key for recycling the nutrients in the soil required to grow crops”.
He added: “In the process, they underwrite food security.”
On previous issuances of green bonds, he stated: “Fortunately, these initial forays show a clear appetite for this sort of investment, and we are currently working on further issuances”.
The President said that the government would mobilize the youth in the planting, breeding a sense of ownership of their region’s future and strengthening community bonds.
He added: “Those who manage the systems should be the community on the frontline: the same people who will benefit from reforestation.
“We intend to mobilize the youth in the planting, breeding a sense of ownership of their region’s future and strengthening community bonds.”
Buhari, who touched on herder-farmers clashes in the article, said: “Critically, ecological restoration reduces the threat of land disputes.
“In the dry season, barren—often drought-stricken—pastureland in the Sahel forces nomadic herders to drive their cattle further south to graze.”