Fashola Flags Off Reality Show To Combat Desert Encroachment
• Says FG must lead from the front to tackle Climate Change
Feb 1, 2010 - Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Monday flagged off the Desert Warriors’ Reality Show with a call on the Federal Government to lead from the front in the fight against desert encroachment in the country.
The Desert Warriors’ Reality Show is an expedition across the Sahara Desert organized by Dr. Newton Jibunoh’s Fight Against Desert Encroachment (FADE) organization in collaboration with the Lagos State Government to raise awareness on the dangers of desert encroachment to the country.
In his brief remarks at the flag-off ceremony which took place at the Lagos House Alausa, Governor Fashola said there is the dire need for the Federal Government to take concrete steps in the fight to save the country from being taken over by the desert.
“For me, it is a national security problem”, the Governor said adding, “Let us make this a national crusade to increase awareness among the people on the danger which we all face from the acts of nature but most significantly from acts we are not responsible for; the acts of industrialized nations who, as we know, are also looking for solutions and putting commitments on the table”.
Governor Fashola said the importance of the fight against desert encroachment in the country particularly lies in the fact that “the desert is the food basket of Nigeria” adding that all the states where food such as vegetables and cattle are produced in the country are facing the threat of being lost to the desert.
Explaining the reasons for the State Government’s support for the expedition, Governor Fashola said in the light of what is happening across the world today – cities, villages, states and whole communities dislodged by flood – Lagos State has been lucky.“But we know that luck alone will not take us far. We need also to act proactively and decisively”, the Governor said adding that desert encroachment adds to Climate Change imbalance which increases water levels, and as a coastal State, Lagos will be the most impacted.
According to him, “Most importantly, not only are we already facing the burden of high migration and exploding population in Lagos, but that burden will be further exacerbated as more people lose their houses and their homes to the desert”, adding that these are the underlying currents that informed the support of the State Government to the venture.
Commending Dr. Jibunoh for his continuing awareness campaign against the encroachment of the desert in the country, Governor Fashola noted that through the “one man crusade” of the renowned Environmentalist, Nigerians are beginning to be conscious of their environment and the need to make it safe.
“The problem of the Environment is the problem of the whole planet and everybody must sign in and the quickest and most efficient way for everybody to sign in is to increase advocacy, to increase knowledge; to increase awareness so that we can all rise to action as one”, the Governor said.
In his introductory remarks, leader of expedition and Chief Executive Officer of FADE, Dr. Jibunoh, said participants in the expedition will visit Abuja and Kano before finally taking off into the desert adding that the venture is to raise awareness in the country about the dangers posed by the menace of the desert.
Dr. Jibunoh said although over 670 people of different professions were screened for the expedition, 60 were chosen adding that only 15 out of this number will take part in the journey while others would participate in future exercises.
He praised Governor Fashola and the State Government for the numerous projects and programmes being undertaken in the State to upgrade the environment and in accordance with the Global battle against Climate Change.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, the State Commissioner for Environment, Dr. Muiz Banire said the Lagos State Government undertook to support the expedition because of its relevance to the environmental programmes of the Government.