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Panacea for Averting Desertification in Kano, Northern Nigeria”

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By Umar Idris Shuaibu – Kano

Northern Nigeria boasts vast arable land, with the potential to feed the entire country and even export surplus produce. However, this region faces a dire threat from the encroaching Sahara Desert, which advances southward at a rate of 0.6 kilometers per year, displacing millions of residents within their own country.

This relentless march of the desert leads to land degradation, rendering once-fertile fields barren and uninhabitable. This crisis not only endangers food security but also undermines economic and social stability. Northern Nigeria, particularly states like Kebbi, Zamfara, Gombe, Yobe, Adamawa, and Bauchi, is at the forefront of this environmental challenge.

According to reports obtained by Daily News 24, Nigeria loses a minimum of 35,000 hectares of arable land annually to desert encroachment in the north. This staggering loss is equivalent to the size of Lagos State, Nigeria’s economic and most populous region.

Malam Musa Tanko Haruna, an expert from the Geography Department at Bayero University, Kano, explains that desertification results from both natural causes and human activities, including excessive farming, overgrazing, deforestation, and the burning of trees at their roots.

“The agents causing desertification in the northern part of this country, and particularly in Kano, are on the rise,” says Malam Musa Tanko Haruna. He emphasizes the urgent need for government and non-governmental organizations to implement drastic measures to combat this issue.

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One effective approach to mitigate desert encroachment is through afforestation, tree planting, and the preservation of existing vegetation. Implementing sustainable agriculture practices, planning for controlled grazing, and reducing reliance on firewood as a fuel source in rural areas are also essential steps.

The Nigerian Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) in Kano, an intervention initiative aimed at addressing desertification, has made significant progress in preserving natural rivers and combating the encroachment of the desert.

One of the major consequences of northern desert encroachment is the mass migration of people due to the loss of farmlands, which places immense pressure on food production in the country. This loss of farmlands has severe socio-economic impacts, particularly as it forces populations to relocate to urban areas, straining available resources.

Farmers along the Niger Republic border have reported an 80% reduction in crop yields. Farmlands that used to yield over ten bundles of millet can now barely produce two due to the relentless advance of desertification, resulting in increased poverty.

Jauro Ahmadu, a local leader in a farming community, highlights the need for further government intervention, especially research into quick-maturing crop species. This research is essential due to the drastic reduction in the rainy season, which has been shortened to about three months per year.

We are suffering here in Gogel village of Warawa area; we face many environmental problems such as desert encroachment,” says Jauro Ahmadu. “Rainfall keeps reducing each year. Some ten years ago, we used to witness rainfall for at least six months, and farm harvests were impressive. Now we hardly get four months of rainfall.”

Umar Idris Shuaibu is a digital journalist in Kano and can be reached at shuaibuumaridris@gmail.com.

Features

Rano Celebrates New Emir with Grand Procession and Festivities

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The historic town of Rano was abuzz with jubilation today as residents welcomed their newly appointed emir, Alhaji Muhammadu Isah Umaru (Autan Bawo), recently appointed by Kano state Governor Alhaji Abba Kabir Yusuf.

The new emir entered the palace in Rano town accompanied by hundreds of people who came out to celebrate the occasion.

The procession displayed cultural heritage with traditional drummers, dancers, and horse riders showcasing the history of the Rano emirate. The streets near the emir’s palace were adorned with colorful decorations as the people of Rano expressed their joy and support for their new leader.

One resident, Malam Sani Rano, shared his excitement, saying, “We are very happy with the appointment of Alhaji Muhammadu Isah Umaru as our new emir. He is a man of integrity and wisdom, and we believe he will lead us towards greater prosperity and unity.”

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Hajiya Fatima Sani, another resident, echoed similar sentiments. “Today is a special day for us in Rano. The new emir has always been close to the people, understanding our needs and aspirations. We have high hopes for his reign.”

The new Emir on the throne,Muhammad Isah Umaru

The new Emir on the throne,Muhammad Isah Umaru

The appointment of Alhaji Muhammadu Isah Umaru has been met with widespread approval, with many residents expressing optimism about the future of the emirate under his leadership.

The procession at Rano Emirate

The procession at Rano Emirate

Bashir Ibrahim, a local trader, remarked, “Muhammadu Isah Umaru has a deep connection with our traditions and values. His leadership will surely bring about positive changes and strengthen our cultural heritage.”

As the celebrations continued into the evening, the atmosphere in Rano remained festive and hopeful. The people of Rano are looking forward to a prosperous era under the guidance of their new emir, Alhaji Muhammadu Isah Umaru.

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A tale from the north: the untold story of Hassan

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Hassan Auwalu Muhammad

In the central part of Northern Nigeria, there lives a man called Hassan Auwalu Muhammad who was born in the ancient city of Kano from the popular Hausa tribal clan.

At the age of 10, Hassan loss his beloved Dad, Late Sharu Muhammad (Memakoko) whose personality has been described by many, as an exemplary figure of humility, moral eminence, humbleness, and greatness.  To Hassan, his father is the most amazing person he has ever known.

Hassan grew up on a  lifestyle which premised on the quest for knowledge. To seek for knowledge, he was sent to Unguru village in Yobe state to acquire islamic knowledge and learn the tenets and fundamentals of his religion- Islam.

Surprisingly, Hassan’s inquisitiveness and curiosity began to developed which as a result, he eventually became a fan of media. Meanwhile, he developed interest in the Journalism profession. Thanks to BBC Hausa, VOA Hausa and DW Hausa programes which  remained the sources of inspiration and motivation for him to be passionate about journalism and even understood  the basic styles and standards of these prominent international media organizations.

From that moment, Hassan who was at his teenage age have already realized how the media could be used in a way to promote unity, peace and progress of his country. Hence, the media became his most preferred choice and the struggle to join the train just began.

After the completion of his secondary school, Hassan made several attempts to secure admission into a degree program at Bayero University, Kano but all attempts prove abortive because his scores were below the required average marks of the post-UTME . For that reason, Hassan had to apply for admission into Diploma programe in Mass Communication. Fortunately for him, he was admitted and years after, he obtained a professional and Advanced Diploma in Mass Communication from the pretigious Bayero University, Kano..

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Having obtained diploma certificates, Hassan decided to further his education and sat for UTME Exams  which took him 7years before he eventually scored the required marks that gave him the chance to be admitted into a Degree programe in 2015, at Bayero University Kano. Hassan graduated in 2021 with second class in Mass Communication.

In 2008, Hassan started his early career in Journalism Profession as a Freelancer with Freedom Radio Kano 99.5 FM. In 2010, he was an artiste reporter  for years until 2013 when he was offered a full time appointment as a staff member of Freedom Radio.

Hassan dive into the Profession as a preseter of Kano Music Expres – a programe which the idea was conceived and developed by him in order to promote Kano based Hausa rappers.

Hassan was there for a while and has achieved so much with that programe before he was  deployed to the station’s on- air studio to serve as a DCA- Duty Continuity Announcer. Being one of the best On-Air Personal , Hassan’s talents could not be left unused, as such he canvases news from different sources and translate it from English to Hausa for “Inda Ranka” programe.

What other passion for Hasssan ?

Initially, Hassan had always wanted to be a pilot, but his dream was shattered by the huge financial responsibility and expectations attached to joining the aviation sector.

But having joined the Media industry, Hassan understood the virtues attached to journalism profession and since then he has been a catalyst for development which through his media content he produces reports that help in changing the lives and mindsets of the teeming youths in a positive way.

However, Hassan believes that working in media has its challenges and requires dedication and sacrifices as well as being honest and true to people. Journalism is all about honesty and truthfulness to present facts that will bring about positive and progressive social transformation in the society.

Besides being a DCA, Hassan is currently presenting three different programes: “Allah Daya…”, “Mai Nema…” and also a co-presenter of “Barka da Hantsi” all from the famous Radio Station, Freedom Radio Group.

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A Decade of Mentorship Culminates in Celebration-Ismail Mudashir

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Ismail Mudashir

On Sunday, I was accompanied by Ibrahim (my brother), Mudashir, and Ismail (my sons) to the wedding fatiah of Zahraddeen Yakubu Shuaibu and Mabarukah Abbas Salihu. The wedding took place at the Kurna Tundun Fulani area of Ungogo LGA, Kano State.

I first met Zahraddeen in 2013 when I was the regional editor of the Daily Trust Newspapers in Kano. Zaharaddeen, pursuing a diploma program, visited my office behind the Kano International Trade Fair Complex to seek placement for a four-month industrial attachment. He came with two other students, Khadija and Ismail, who were also seeking placements.

As we only had two slots left for interns, I decided to subject them to a 30-minute test. Zaharaddeen scored 65 marks, while the other two trailed behind. He and the person who came second were selected, marking the beginning of an enduring relationship.

Zaharaddeen, a curious and eager learner, maintained the relationship after completing the four-month attachment by keeping in touch with me through phone calls and text messages. After finishing his diploma, he enrolled in a degree program at the Bayero University Kano (BUK).

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In 2018, he reached out to me when he was to be mobilised for the NYSC, seeking to serve at the headquarters of Daily Trust Newspapers in Abuja and under my supervision. I told him of the possibility of him serving in Daily Trust but not under my supervision as I was attached to the State House, a restricted place that one can only access with accreditation or tag.

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However, when the posting was released, he was deployed to Kebbi State. After the three-week orientation program at the NYSC camp he requested redeployment to Abuja. In Abuja, he was deployed to Daily Trust under the supervision of Malam Hamza Idris, the then Group Politics Editor.

Coincidentally, barely a month later, Malam Hamza was promoted to the General Editor, and I was redeployed from the State House to succeed him. Thus, Zahraddeen completed his one-year service under my supervision.

During his time at Daily Trust, Zahraddeen endeared himself to everyone in the newsroom through his dedication, commitment, and curiosity. Upon completing his service, he was retained. Because he was always in possession of my ATM cards, he was nicknamed SA spending by colleagues in Daily Trust’s newsroom. He is an honest and truthful young man.

On July 23, 2023, I left Daily Trust Newspapers to take the position of Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator (Dr) Barau I Jibrin, CON. Courtesy of His Excellency’s benevolence, Zahraddeen joined me in August.

Just as in Daily Trust, Zahraddeen has earned the respect of colleagues in the Deputy President of the Senate’s office and beyond due to his very respectful and calm personality.

Please join me in wishing him a blissful married life. May Allah SWT bless their union with all the good things in life. May Allah bless you all. Amin Ya Allah.

Ismail Mudashir is special adviser to Deputy Senate President on Media and publicity Barau I Jibrin

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