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Nigeria Says Drought Has Severely Impacted 40 million Citizens 

Nigeria’s deputy environment minister, Iziaq Salako, says drought has thrown millions into poverty, especially around Nigeria’s Lake Chad region.

Nigeria’s Minister of State for Environment,  Dr. Iziaq Salako has said drought has seriously impacted about 40 million Nigerians negatively and has led to loss of livelihood and thrown many into adverse poverty especially around the Lake Chad region.

The Minister would was represented by a senior staff in the ministry, Alhaji Abdullahi Usman at the celebration of World Environment Day by the United Nations in Nigeria, in collaboration with Greenhub Africa Foundation and Renewable Energy Efficiency Association, said Nigeria has undertaken several far reaching actions to reduce the impact of drought on the citizenry but it is no longer enough to prevent further damage to the land as it is necessary to act decisively to reverse and recover what has been lost.

He noted that: “Land degradation is a global sustainable development concern which threatens the primary productivity of soil, food production system, biodiversity, water availability,  energy, peace security and sustainable livelihood. To farmers, herdsmen and agro foresters in Nigeria, land degradation means a constant battle to grow crops, feed livestock and maintain ecosystem stability.”

He added that: “Globally, a large proportion of people living in poverty and directly affected by land degradation and here in Nigeria the poorest depend on the land for sustenance and there is a direct connection between land degradation and poverty.”

He said: “It is an incontrovertible fact that a healthy land in vital to the existence and persistence of all human societies from food, fodder, water and materials such as timber and fibre, pest, disease control and cultural identity. As land becomes degraded, the availability of arable land for agriculture decreases, thereby compounding food insecurity and forcing communities to migrate in search of better living, this invariably leads to conflicts.”

He noted that: “The theme of this year’s World Environment Day “Land Restoration, Desertification and Drought Resilience” is very apt, considering the significant damage caused by human activities arising from urbanization, unsustainable agriculture and deforestation, uncontrolled mining activities, and other circumstances in our production ecosystem, which cannot be repaired without intervention.”

He stressed that: “Land restoration and management provide sustainable solutions to global challenges, the necessity to realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 inspires a greater sense of responsibility and care for our land.”

Other speakers, including the Chaiman Greenhub Africa, Professor Obas Ebohon, the Country Director International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, Dede Ekoue, the Country Representative, Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, Dominique Koffy, and the President Governing Council Alliance, Professor Magnus Onuoha among others, called for development of policies that would tackle the multidimensional risks associated with climate change, to save the environment.

Speaker after speaker proffered solutions to checking the menace of desertification and drought and their impact on the citizenry.

The meeting which had stakeholders drawn from UN led and Civil Society Organisations on environment, was an opportunity for them to brainstorm and come up with far reaching solutions if Nigeria will achieve the voluntary Land Degradation Neutrality targets by the year 2030.

 but in Nigeria it means a constant battle to grow crops, feed livestock and maintain ecosystem stability for farmers, herdsmen and agro foresters.

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

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