Desert Warriors Off To London By Road November

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The Lagos State Government of Nigeria in conjunction with Fight Against Desert  Encroachment, FADE, is to flag off the much-awaited expedition to London by road through  the Sahara Desert in November in order to drum up support for the fight against global  warming.

FADE boss, Dr. Newton Jibunoh, will be leading 15 young men called ‘Desert Warriors’ on  the journey by road to and from London. The expedition will take will take off on 8  November, 2010. The trip to London by road was first postponed a few months ago as a  result of the coup in Niger Republic and the rise in sea level which made Northern  African countries close their boundary with the Sahara Desert.

The trip was meant to highlight some of the effects of losing arable land to  desertification. The strategy here is to showcase the extent of degradation and  unsustainable environment as well as sensitise the people along the Sahara route to the  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 700  people applied which was later pruned to 44 and then 15 after rigorous endurance tests.  The desert warriors include five female and 10 male participants.

The desert warriors will transverse Nigeria, Niger, Algeria, Spain, France, Germany and  terminate in London.

“This, we believe, will further attract world attention to the issues of global warming  and its attendant climate change which has been a source of worry for all discerning  minds the world over,” said Dr. Muiz Banire, Lagos State Commissioner for the  Environment, at a news conference yesterday in Lagos, Nigeria.

Why embark on the trip? Banire said the trip was necessary because the nation was  vulnerable to the consequences of climate change leading to massive erosion in the South  East and desertification in the North which might lead to food shortage with its  attendant consequences.

“In Nigeria, 11 states including Katsina, Kano, Borno, Adamawa, Kebbi, Zamfara, Bauchi,  Sokoto, Gombe, Jigawa and Yobe are being ravaged by desertification.

“Some of the effects of losing arable land to desertification are vegetal degradation,  impoverished ecosystem, decreased biological productivity leading to shortage of food,  ill health, low per capital income, migration, and conflicts over farming and grazing  land and green house gases in the atmosphere because of the absence of greens as natural  carbon capture sequester,” he added.

According to him, the journey had lent credence to the call for urgent attention to tame  desertification and its effect on the people, animal and plants, adding that as part of  the desert warriors’ assignment, trees shall be planted along our route, “we shall dig  wells and also educate communities abutting the Sahara Desert on the dangers of climate  change and deforestation, among others.

“We strongly believe in advocacy as a potent tool in the common battle against  environmental errors.   To carry everyone along in the expedition, we shall commence  broadcast of the reality show on our partner stations like HITV, LTV, STV and TVC,” he  added.