11th October, 2010
The Lagos State Government of Nigeria in conjunction with Fight Against DesertÂ Encroachment, FADE, is to flag off the much-awaited expedition to London by road throughÂ the Sahara Desert in November in order to drum up support for the fight against globalÂ warming.
FADE boss, Dr. Newton Jibunoh, will be leading 15 young men called â€˜Desert Warriorsâ€™ onÂ the journey by road to and from London. The expedition will take will take off on 8Â November, 2010. The trip to London by road was first postponed a few months ago as aÂ result of the coup in Niger Republic and the rise in sea level which made NorthernÂ African countries close their boundary with the Sahara Desert.
The trip was meant to highlight some of the effects of losing arable land toÂ desertification. The strategy here is to showcase the extent of degradation andÂ unsustainable environment as well as sensitise the people along the Sahara route to theÂ feasibility of building the Trans-Saharan Highway as an alternative route to Europe.
During the screening to select desert warriors for the trip in February, 2010, about 700Â people applied which was later pruned to 44 and then 15 after rigorous endurance tests.Â The desert warriors include five female and 10 male participants.
The desert warriors will transverse Nigeria, Niger, Algeria, Spain, France, Germany andÂ terminate in London.
â€œThis, we believe, will further attract world attention to the issues of global warmingÂ and its attendant climate change which has been a source of worry for all discerningÂ minds the world over,â€ said Dr. Muiz Banire, Lagos State Commissioner for theÂ Environment, at a news conference yesterday in Lagos, Nigeria.
Why embark on the trip? Banire said the trip was necessary because the nation wasÂ vulnerable to the consequences of climate change leading to massive erosion in the SouthÂ East and desertification in the North which might lead to food shortage with itsÂ attendant consequences.
â€œIn Nigeria, 11 states including Katsina, Kano, Borno, Adamawa, Kebbi, Zamfara, Bauchi,Â Sokoto, Gombe, Jigawa and Yobe are being ravaged by desertification.
â€œSome of the effects of losing arable land to desertification are vegetal degradation,Â impoverished ecosystem, decreased biological productivity leading to shortage of food,Â ill health, low per capital income, migration, and conflicts over farming and grazingÂ land and green house gases in the atmosphere because of the absence of greens as naturalÂ carbon capture sequester,â€ he added.
According to him, the journey had lent credence to the call for urgent attention to tameÂ desertification and its effect on the people, animal and plants, adding that as part ofÂ the desert warriorsâ€™ assignment, trees shall be planted along our route, â€œwe shall digÂ wells and also educate communities abutting the Sahara Desert on the dangers of climateÂ change and deforestation, among others.
â€œWe strongly believe in advocacy as a potent tool in the common battle againstÂ environmental errors.Â Â To carry everyone along in the expedition, we shall commenceÂ broadcast of the reality show on our partner stations like HITV, LTV, STV and TVC,â€ heÂ added.