FG develops policies to combat drought, desertification

Dr Mohammad Abubakar, Minister of Environment, delivering his remarks during the opening session of a two-day South West Sensitisation workshop on Climate Change, held in Lagos
Dr Mohammad Abubakar, Minister of Environment, delivering his remarks during the opening session of a two-day South West Sensitisation workshop on Climate Change, held in Lagos

THE Federal Government has developed policies, institutional and legislative capacities to enhance effective and far-reaching actions to reduce the impact of drought and desertification in Nigeria.

The Minister of Environment,  Dr Mohammad Abubakar, made this known during the World Desertification Day “Abuja 2020” with the theme: ‘Food, Feed, Fibre’ on Wednesday in Abuja.

The 2020 World Desertification Day was celebrated at the Bwari Area Council.

Abubakar listed some of the policies and actions to include, the National Policy on Drought and Desertification, National Drought Plan, and Implementation of a number programmes and projects aimed at combating desertification, land degradation.

He said the policies would help to mitigate the impacts of drought such as sand dune, stabilisation, development of shelter belts and wind brakes, woodlot establishment among others.

According to him, the Great Green Wall initiative is an example of a regional programme involving West African partners and it is aimed at providing a long-term solution to desertification and land degradation within African sub-region.

He said that government has also recognised the importance of partnership in tackling the hydra-headed problem of desertification, adding that it has facilitated the involvement of NGOs/CSOs as well as donor organisations.

“The Nigerian government is currently considering going into partnership with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) on management of the risk of sand and dust storms.

” Government is concerned about the disruption of ecological system caused by poor land use, population pressure and the devastating activities of insurgents in the North Eastern part of the country with dire consequences of land degradation among others,” he said.

The Minister of FCT, Malam Muhammad Bello, said over the last few decades, the terrible effects of desertification and drought have become more pronounced in many parts of the world.

Bello, represented by Mr Chinyeaka Ohaa, the Permanent Secretary of FCT, said that human activities to a very large extent have contributed to this phenomenon due to over exploitation and inappropriate land use, poverty, political instability, wars, deforestation among others.

He said as global populations became larger, wealthier and more urban, there was a far greater demand for land to provide food, animal feed and fibre for clothing.

“It is therefore imperative to have enough productive land to meet the demands of an increasing global population, lifestyles need to change rising from the individual to community levels.

” We have, for instance, suspended all changes in land use and commenced, with the collaboration and cooperation of the private sector, aggressive tree planting across our highways.

“We have also adopted and implementing the policy of planting three trees for every one that is cut,” he said.

Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, the Minister of State, Environment in her goodwill message said that desertification remains a serious challenge to development, especially in the northern part of the country and the sub-Sharan region.

Ikeazor, represented by Mrs Mabel Emmanuel, the Director, Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought Management of the ministry, said that the theme of this year desertification and drought day was very apt and requires a change of public attitudes.

She called for adoption of stringent measures to sustainably manage and conserve our limited resources, halt and reserve land degradation, reclaim and restore the degraded land and ensure land degradation neutrality.

Dr Bawuro Yahaya, the Board Chairman, Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), appreciated the effort of the ministry.

He assured that the board would work with the ministry in tree planting to green the ecosystem.

Mr John Gabaya, the Chairman, Bwari Area Council, said that the council would collaborate with the ministry in tree planting to curb desertification.

At the end of the event the ministry empowered some women at the Bwari Area Council with some efficient cooking stoves.

The Minister and dignitaries also planted trees in the council to commemorate the day. (NAN)

– Jun. 17, 2020 @ 17:59 GMT |

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