PLANS are under way by the Borno State Government to transplant six million tree seedlings to cover a1,500 square-kilometre shelter belt to check desertification in the state.
The project will be executed in the five affected councils of Abadam, Mobbar, Gubio, Nganzai and Kala/Balge in the state.
The seedlings are being raised in nurseries to a height of one metre before the transplant.
Speaking yesterday at the Gubio Nursery, Commissioner of Environment, Abdulkadir Abubakar Kaza'a, lamented that desertification had encroached upon farmlands and oases, which the people rely on for their livelihoods.
He said since the 1983/84 drought, desertification has been moving southwards at the rate of 600 metres per year, fearing that any delay in the completion of the shelter belt could displace more communities and their livestock.
The commissioner disclosed that all boreholes in Damasak, Gubio and Nganzai were being reactivated to ensure regular supply of water for the transplanted seedlings in the belt.
However, Kaza'a observed that the six million seedlings might not adequately cover the shelter belt, hinting that the three state nurseries would have to raise more for the desert reclamation project.
The commissioner also disclosed that the state government would employ more forest guards to protect existing trees from illegal logging and firewood merchants.
The guards, according to him, would patrol the shelter belt and grazing reserves already gazetted by the state government.