*Project to impact three million rural dwellers
The World Bank has released $2 million to tackle environmental challenges in Bauchi State under the Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Aridlandscapes Project.
Governor Bala Mohammed, disclosed this at a opening ceremony of a four-day Stakeholders’ Engagement for Bauchi ACReSAL which held at the Command Guest House, on Wednesday.
He said that his administration had released N500 million as counterpart fund to the World Bank for the commencement of the project in Bauchi State.
He added that an additional N500 million was included in the 2023 budget so that enough funds will be available for the smooth take off of the project across the seven pilot communities of the state.
The governor stated that the state’s drive to participate in the project was to tackle natural emergencies and to address ecological challenges in the state.
“Our decision to participate in ACReSAL Project was an added effort of our state’s strive towards tackling the fragility and natural emergencies through development and implementation of a number of multi-sectoral initiatives over the last few years where we collaborated and leverage technical and financial assistance from multi-national donors, bilateral donors and Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies to address a number of ecological challenges in the state.
“Our motivation and interest to participate in ACReSAL Project was prepared by the State’s Technical Team and submitted to the World Bank. We even submitted it very late unfortunately, but within a period of two years, the state government assiduously pursued to establish the State Project Management Unit, deployment of competent staff, released of vehicles to the SPMU and the release of counterpart funding to the tune of N500 million despite the dwindling resources.
“We also budgeted additional N500 million in the 2023 budget just to make sure we have enough resources to meet the counterpart requirements, and I am told that in the assessment of the national body, we came second in the whole federation. This goes to show that we, as a state, are doing well and the Project Implementation Unit is doing very, very well.
“As a result of the foregoing and to appreciate the tremendous commitment demonstrated so far, I am pleased to inform you that our state through the SPMU has received the advance release of the sum of $2 million to commence the project implementation in earnest.
“I’m happy that ACReSAL Project is well articulated and timely, particularly that it is in tandem with the cardinal principle of our administration of prioritizing sectors of the environment, agriculture and water resources,” he stated.
According to him, Bauchi state is endowed with natural resources and special course ecosystems, game reserves, vast arable and irrigable land resources comprising 10 macro watersheds, 46 micro watersheds, seven major rivers, five lakes and 10 major wetlands; pointing out that as part of these endowments, natural and man-induced climate change and population increase constitute a barrier to the state’s capacity to reach its optimum potential.
Mohammed noted that the ACReSAL Project which is aimed at increasing the sustainable land management practices in targeted watersheds in northern Nigeria, and strengthening Nigeria’s long term established enabling environment for integrated climate resilient landscape management will go a long way in providing solutions to the state’s lingering ecological problems.
“To commenced ACReSAL Intervention Project, we have identified the hotspots of this ecological problems across all the local government areas in the state. I directed the SPMU to work assiduously to actualize these interventions with equity and fairness across the first seven selected communities. The seven communities are not the only ones, we have 45 of them already identified.
“I want to thank the people of Kirfi, Gololo, Duguri, Cheledi, Yakubun Bauchi, Gwaram and Sulaiman Adamu Communities for giving the huge interventions of civil works to include stone work and drainages and dams to avert effects of flooding and erosion.
“Apart from stone works, the ACReSAL Project will embark on tree planting, irrigation farming, agroforestry, greenhouse farming, plant and agric development units, farm produce processing centers and integrated solar powered borehole schemes across a the 20 local government areas in the state.
“The project which has six years implementation period is targeted at impacting of the livelihood of more than three million people particularly in the rural areas. And I want to say that the financing of this project is finance based, we have to work hard to access the $700 million basket, and we are very few states that are competing. We are lucky and I can see hope at the end of the tunnel,” the governor stated.
Also speaking, the State Co-ordinator ACReSAL, Dr Kabir Mohammed, commended the state Governor for providing an enabling environment for the project to work in the state.
He mentioned the pilot communities include Kirfi, Gololo, Duguri, Cheledi, Yakubun Bauchi, Gwaram and Sulaiman Adamu communities in the state.
Mohammed mentioned some of the activities to be carried out in the implementation of the project to include tree planting along construction of roads in six local government areas across the senatorial districts of the state.
“Distribution of 6,000 efficient biomass cooking stoves and fuels to avert indiscriminate cutting of trees in communities among others,” he said.
The State Coordinator urged stakeholders to cooperate with the project officials to succeed.