Nigeria: Buhari Proposes Tree Planting to Curb Herders, Farmers' Clashes

15 November 2019

President Muhammadu Buhari has proposed tree planting as part of the solutions to the frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the country.

Citing an opinion article published in the Scientific American, the Presidential Spokesman, Mallam Garuba Shehu, said yesterday that Buhari stated that drylands forced herders to migrate from the North/Sahel region to the South during the dry season in search of wetlands to graze cattle.

Buhari argued that to restore the ecology of the North, tree planting would help and in the process, keep the herders in their locality, as against the seasonal migration.

The President wrote that Nigeria, which had already planted 1million trees as part of efforts to combat climate change, would plant 25 million more trees.

"Today, President Muhammadu Buhari writes in an opinion article in Scientific American, in which more than 150 Nobel laureates have been published, that the Nigerian government is taking action against the ecological breakdown that drives conflicts.

"He explains that 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 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. In tackling these challenges, the government believes it is essential to involve young people in the decision-making processes on climate action because, ultimately, it is their future that shall be affected.

"The tree planting is part of a larger project, a Great Green Wall," Shehu, stated.

On the importance of tree planting, the statement quoted Buhari as writing, "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. In the process, they underwrite food security." On how trees will help resolve herder-farmer conflicts, the President wrote, "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."

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