EMIRATE COUNCILS GAVE ASSURANCE ON PROJECT CONTINUITY AS MINISTRY FACILITATES SCALING UP
The impressive performance of the European Union (EU)-funded Improving the Fuel Wood Balance (FuWoBa) in Baure, Daura, Dutsi, Mai Adua, Mashi, Sandamu and Zango in 7 LGAs, Katsina State implemented by OXFAM and ICEED from September 9, 2014 had generated strong interest evoking sustenance and replication. The enthusiastic expressions made by key stakeholders during Sustainability Advocacy visits including that of the Emirs of Katsina and Daura, amongst others, bear eloquent testimonies to the success of the Project in Katsina State.
Apart from commending the Project for planting and maintaining over 7.1million trees with about 82.6% survival rates and production/dissemination of over 39,000 fuel wood efficient stoves (with 96.6% regularly in use) in the seven benefiting LGAs, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Dr Abdulmumini Kabir Usman CFR, Emir of Katsina pledged to mobilize his people to continue the annual trees planting exercise and support the Government to invest in afforestation to protect the environment from further degradation. He made the remark during the visit paid by the Project Management Unit (PMU) on April 23, 2019. Furthermore, to demonstrate his commitment, the Emir instructed one of his senior Councilors, Alhaji Abba Balarabe (Sarkin Dawan, Katsina) to participate effectively in all project’s activities and report to him for timely actions.
Similarly, the Emir of Daura, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Farouk Umar Farouk congratulated the Project Manager, Dr Chris Udokang and his team for the excellent work done and impressive milestones achieved within the LGAs in his Emirate Council area. HRH confirmed during the visit on April 25, 2019 that from reports received, the Project had generously touched the life of people at the Community levels more than any project ever reported in recent time and as such, the ideals and objectives must be sustained. He accordingly unfolded the plan to visit his sixteen traditional District Councils after Ramadan to reward those who planted and maintained more trees and to encourage sustenance and continuity after the exit of EU’s support in January 2020. Interestingly too, the two Emirs voluntarily offered to contact both the Federal, State and Local Governments to urgently put structures in place to enhance sustainability and replication of the wonderful objectives of FuWoBa project. They assured that the Project would be taken over and sustained. This assertion has a strong correlation with the earlier declaration made by the Caretaker Committee Chairmen in the seven benefiting LGAs at a meeting in Daura LG Secretariat on March 20, 2019.
Earlier on similar mission, the Honourable Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Abubakar Zakka on April 11, 2019 agreed to facilitate scaling up by inviting Directors of Agriculture in the 34 LGAs in the State to develop modalities for scaling up in other LGAs. This meeting was rapidly held on April 29, 2019 with all the Directors in attendance. Apart from chairing the meeting, the Hon Commissioner who was represented by Alhaji Nasiru Wali, Director, Political, Monitoring, Evaluation and Political Affairs requested the directors to liaise with the PMU and colleagues from the seven LGAs to ensure that a robust implementation plan is developed and submitted for discussion in the next meeting. In his contribution, the representative of the Emirate Council of Katsina, Sarkin Dawan, Katsina advised the directors to key strongly into the mission of regreening the environment as demonstrated by the European Union in the FuWoBa Project. Alhaji Balarabe remarked that the effects of climate change have been on challenging global increase and unless something concrete is done, the State might face more serious effects in the near future. The representatives of Hon Commissioners of Environment and Justice; Directors from Department of Forestry in the Ministry of Agriculture, Heads of Local Partner NGOs and members of Project Implementation Committee (PIC) were also in attendance.
Although the Directors of Agriculture (as a Forum) agreed to reconvene on June 11, 2019 after consultation with their political and traditional rulers, information had it that with less financial support from FuWoBa Project, the Directors of Agric in the seven benefiting LGAs have raised over 800,000 assorted trees seedlings in the seven Community Nurseries using the LGA Coordination Platforms funds as a demonstration of domesticating FuWoBa vision. This is in addition to the 800,000 assorted trees seedlings already raised by the State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources across the 34 LGAs. According to the Chairman of the Forum, Alh. Usman Ahmed (Director of Agric, Sandamu LGA), the PMU had proposed annual trees planting campaign called ONE PERSON ONE TREE festival starting first in July/August 2019, and that directors from the seven LGAs have agreed to drive the campaign, hence their investment in raising the assorted tree seedlings.
In view of the above commitments, and with the encouragement from key stakeholders, the PMU, Local Partner NGOs and Directors resolved to meet the Commissioners from collaborating Ministries (Justice, Environment, LG and Chieftaincy Affairs and Agriculture and Natural Resources) on May 9, 2019 to articulate appropriate procedures and processes for expansion and scaling up. The declaration from this meeting will be shared with His Excellency, Alhaji Aminu Masari (Dallatun Katsina) the Executive Governor of Katsina State on a later date. Judging from the impressive buy-in of beneficiaries at the grassroot levels, there is a strong indication that the Sustainability and Scaling up plan initiated by the PMU is gradually tilting to success.