Senate yesterday moved to address the challenges and threats of desertification by passing through the Second Reading a Bill for an Act to Establish the National Agency for the Great Green Wall for the implementation of the Great Green Wall Programme in Nigeria and for Related Matters 2015.
The Bill seeks to establish the National Agency for the Great Green Wall for the implementation of the provisions of the Convention on the Great Green Wall Programme in Nigeria, management of drought, desertification control measures and related matters.
Sponsored by the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, it will be recalled that the Bill was read for the first time on the floor of the Red Chamber on Wednesday, April 15, 2015.
In his lead debate on the Bill, Ndoma-Egba pointed out the negative threat of desertification to Nigeria.
“Climate Change is one of the world’s most formidable challenges posing serious threat to global stability due to its negative impacts on the physical, biological and social environment. This phenomenon has direct impact on the dry land regions of Africa, causing frequent draughts, acute water shortages and degradation of natural resources base, as well as dislocation of socio-economic stability of the communities in the region.
“About 43 percent of Nigeria’s total land area is under the threat of desertification, with the resultant deleterious effect on food security, sustainable livelihoods and social security of the affected communities of over 40 million people. This led to the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative, GGWSSI, proposed in 2015 by Nigeria and adopted by the African Union in 2007,” Ndoma-Egba pointed out.
It will be recalled that Nigeria signed the Great Green Wall Convention in 2010.
According to Ndoma-Egba, the specific goal of the Initiative is to address land degradation and desertification in the Sahara and Sahel region, enhance food security and support communities to adapt to Climate Change.
“Currently, 11 countries are involved in the programme, and these include: Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan,” he added.
Ndoma-Egba listed the objectives of the Bill to include: implement the Great Green Wall Programme in Nigeria; coordinate efforts of agencies, organisations and institutions responsible for desertification towards the attainment of the objectives of the programme; and build capacity, knowledge and skills at federal, states and local community levels for the effective implementation of the programme.
Others are to: ensure effective liaison with the African Union Commission and the Pan African Agency of the Great Green Wall; and monitor and ensure compliance with laws, rules and regulations on sustainable management of the natural resources in the affected areas put in place by government from time to time in consultation with states.
Lending his support for the Bill, Senator Ali Ndume noted that the Bill is very important.

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