The Executive Governors of Plateau, Bauchi and Gombe States, Simon Lalong, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar and Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo respectively have commended Sterling Bank Plc for its role in checkmating desertification experienced in some Northern parts of the country through its tree planting initiative.
Desertification, according to them, has caused a lot of damage to the local economy as it has made farming impossible in affected areas leading to high cost of food items and poor standard of living for the people. According to a statement from the lender, the Governors made these remarks during the tree planting exercise organized by the Bank in in the three pilot states at the weekend.
They said the initiative would sustain the environment and checkmate the rising challenges posed by desertification as well as generate the much needed awareness on desertification at local, national and global levels. The Bank last week, commenced the pilot stage of the tree planting initiative in three states in Northern Nigeria.
The initiative, according to the Bank became imperative as one of the solutions to cushion the effects of desertification in the country, as Nigeria is faced with rapid desert encroachment affecting fifteen northern states with various degree of impact. The Plateau State Governor who was represented by the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mrs. Lynda Shekinah Barau commended the Bank for coming up with the initiative, which according to her, remains the most tested solution to stemming the tide of desertification and is in line with the United Nation Sustainable Developmental Goals for environmental preservation.
Similarly, Dr. Audu Bogoro, Bauchi State Commissioner for Power, Mines and Environment who represented the Bauchi State Governor at the tree planting exercise noted that the Bank, with the initiative, has raised the bar in Corporate Social Responsibility. He therefore called on other private institutions to support the initiative as desertification impacts negatively on all aspects of human life and the environment including the ecological, health, geo-chemical, hydrological and socio-economic facets.
In Gombe, the State Commissioner for Environment, Abubakar Usman who represented the Governor commended the Bank for coming up with the initiative to support state government effort to fight desertification. He added that the state government would also continue to protect indigenous trees and shrub species considered as other veritable solutions.
Earlier in a statement, Sterling Bank Group Head, Strategy and Communications, Mr. Shina Atilola emphasized the need for the private sector to support the governments at all levels to checkmate the rising challenges posed by desertification in the country.
He disclosed that from statistics a quarter of the earth surface was threatened by desertification and out of the 909,890 km2 of the country land area, about 580,841 km2 accounting for 63.83% of total land was impinged on by desertification. He added that extensive cultivation, deforestation, overgrazing, cultivation of marginal land and bush burning were identified as major causes of desertification.
Sterling Bank Plc, the one-customer bank, is a full-service national commercial bank with an asset base above N800 billion, over 187 business offices and more than 800 ATMs nationwide. In over 55 years of service, Sterling Bank (formerly NAL Bank) has evolved from the nation pre-eminent investment banking institution to a fully-fledged commercial bank.
Furthermore, with a strong national presence, Sterling Bank is one of the top 30 most capitalized institutions on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The bank also remains one of Nigeria fastest growing banks and is recognized as a dynamic financial services organization.