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Gombe State Governor, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, CON has officially launched the 2024 tree planting campaign, aimed at combating desertification and promoting environmental sustainability in the state.

In conjunction with this event, the Governor also presented cheques to beneficiaries of the Community Revolving Fund (CRF), a scheme designed to empower local communities and stimulate economic growth through accessible financial support.

Addressing a gathering of community leaders and environmental stakeholders at the flagging-off event which held on Tuesday at Bage community in Funakaye local government, Governor Inuwa Yahaya emphasized the importance of tree planting in mitigating the impact of climate change and environmental sustainability and resilience.

“Through the Gombe Goes Green (3G) project, we planted about 4 million trees in order to mitigate desert encroachment, prevent erosion, and reverse land degradation. It is therefore clear that our resolve to take climate action through sustainable tree planting over the past five years is borne out of the need to address the visible adverse effects of climate change on our environment, economy, and agriculture”, the Governor said.

“With partnerships from the World Bank, initially through the NEWMAP project and now through the ACReSAL project, we have successfully addressed and remedied several severe gully sites in Gombe State, bringing relief to affected communities and safeguarding the livelihoods of our people”, he added.

Governor Inuwa Yahaya further disclosed that under the ACReSAL project, the Gombe state government has succeeded in recovering about 140 hectares of land through its afforestation campaign, stressing that the recovery was part of a larger plan to deliver a total of 1,905 hectares of afforestation in 2024 while ensuring the planting of 1,742,400 seedlings of various types such as mahogany, syzygium, mango, cashew, eucalyptus, and moringa.

In a related development, Governor Inuwa Yahaya presented cheques to beneficiaries of the ACReSAL’s Community Revolving Fund (CRF) to enhance the capacity of community and farmer groups to practice climate-smart agriculture, promote sustainable agricultural practices, address local conflicts, and foster mutual understanding and peace in communities for the overall economic prosperity and well-being of the people.

The Governor warned beneficiaries of the Fund to ensure they are not utilized for a different purpose, maintaining that the “the facility is not a grant or a government largess but a loan that must be repaid within the stipulated time to allow others to benefit. The loan should be used prudently to improve agricultural production, enhance food security, and uplift community welfare.”

He further emphasized that the aim of the initiative was to create employment opportunities, especially for vulnerable groups such as women, people with special needs, and youths as a part of renewed efforts to improve agricultural production, ensure food security and sustain the fight against poverty in the state.

A total of forty seven Community Interest Groups from both the two catchment areas of FCE(T) which comprises of Tukulma-Beto, Unguwa Uku, Kagarawal, Wuro Kesa and Malam Inna communities; and Bajoga which consists of Lamurde, Kesala Jauro Sajo, Zazirmari, Sangaru and Shara Mansur communities have met the criteria for the selection and disbursement under the pilot phase of the initiative.

In his remarks, the National Project Coordinator of ACReSAL, Dr. Abdulhamid Umar, said Gombe stands tall in the comity of states in the country with a close to perfect implementation of Acresal activities for the benefit of the environment.

He added that the 2024 tree planting campaign as launched by Governor Inuwa Yahaya underscored the importance his administration attaches to the environment, saying he had seen laudable initiatives of Gombe state government to that effect.

He further expressed gratitude to Governor Inuwa Yahaya for playing a pivotal role in the general activities of AcreSal through his environmental friendly policies such as the Gombe Goes Green (3G) and other initiatives targeted at enhancing the environment.

While delivering his remarks, the Commissioner of Environment, Water and Forest Resources, Mohammed Sa’idu Fawu, explained that his ministry, in collaboration with AcreSal, has concluded arrangements to plant a total of sixteen thousand trees to complement the efforts being made by the Inuwa-led administration in tackling climate challenges in the state.

On the Community Revolving Fund, the commissioner disclosed that the 47 Community Interest Groups selected for the pilot phase of the initiative, will receive the sum of 35 million naira each, bringing the total to 1.6 Billion naira with a plan to expand the programme to other eligible communities across the state.

In his short remarks, the State Coordinator of Acresal, Dr. Sani Adamu Jauro, said the feat so far achieved by the project in the state would not have been possible without consistent support of Governor Inuwa Yahaya whose administration places special premium on environmental sustainability and reclamation, pledging the project’s continued commitment to implementing initiatives that would support the economic growth and development of Gombe state in line with the Governor’s vision.

Earlier in his address of welcome address, the chairman of Funakaye Local government Area, Shuaibu Abdulrahaman, explained that the flagging-off of the 2024 tree planting campaign and the presentation of cheques to beneficiaries in the community revolving funds by Governor Inuwa Yahaya is feat that must be celebrated, promising to monitor the utilization of the funds and the implementation of the three projects by the benefitting communities within his area.

Goodwill messages were delivered by the Emir of Gona, HRH. Alhaji Umar Abdulkadir Abdulsalam II mnim, his counterpart from Funakaye, HRH. Alhaji Yakubu Mohammed Kwairanga and the commissioner of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Coorperative, Dr. Barnabas Malle.

The beneficiaries expressed gratitude for the support, acknowledging that the funds would significantly enhance their capacity to implement community-driven initiatives, agricultural ventures, and other income-generating activities that align with the state’s sustainable development goals.