By Caleb Ayansina
THE National Agency for the Great Green Wall (NAGGW), is to partner with the Nigerian Prisons Service in tackling the menace of desertification.
This agreement was made when the Director General, NAGGW, Mr. Goni Ahmed paid a courtesy call on the Comptroller General of Prisons Service, in Abuja.
The DG said the GGW Agency was put in place to embrace two key issues of land degradation and improve the livelihood of the people in 11 front line states in northern Nigeria.
According to him, Nigerian Prisons Service is a key government agency involved in agricultural inputs and have a central command whereby it is easy to pass directives or programmes that will improve the Agency.
He said the Agency has identified the excessive use of firewood, saying that in Nigeria almost 80 to 90 percent use firewood for their cooking, saying that while the Agency is out there planting trees, some people are busy cutting trees.
Ahmed noted that the use of firewood is more in organised places like the Prisons, bakeries, schools and many others with high concentration of people therefore needing high source of energy for cooking.
Minimizing the use of firewood
The DG said his visit was to seek partnership between the Agency and the Prisons Service on how to look at alternative sources of energy in order to minimize the use of firewood.
In his speech, the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Prisons Service, Mr. Ahmed Ja’afar said the service has over 244 Prisons spread across the country out of which 16 are farm sectors specially established to teach the inmates the act of farming and animal husbandry.
He noted that looking back, the environment has changed with the forests no more and rivers dried up while sand dunes have covered up the farmlands which he said portrays danger not only in the front line states, but the entire nation at large, saying that this has forced the inhabitants to migrate in search of greener pasture and water.
He said the Prisons Service has high concentration of over 70, 000 people in custody using a lot of firewood for cooking for the inmates.
The Comptroller General however assured that the service has taken steps realising it can’t continue to use firewood for cooking and is repositioning their kitchen in order to use gas which is mandatory to all prisons in the country.
He also said they have started pilot projects on biogas in Port-Harcout and Kirikiri with the intention to harness biogas option for cooking to contribute their quota to reduce cutting down of trees and excessive use of firewood for cooking, adding that in few years to come, the Prisons will face out the use of firewood.