Abuja – Surveyor Suleiman Zarma, Minister of Environment, on Monday said that
disruption of the ecological system is caused by poor land use,population pressure and the devastating activities of insurgents in the North-East part of Nigeria.
The Minister, who expressed concerns about disruption of the ecological system, stated this at a two day National Workshop on African Initiative for Combating Desertification.
The workshop was organised by the Federal Ministry of Environment with technical support of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
He said desertification is the most pressing environmental problem in the dry regions of the world.
“In Nigeria, it remains a major challenge to national development in the northern fringes of the nation. The problem continues to degrade land resources which provide livelihood to majority of the rural populace with its ugly consequences of resource use conflict, hunger, social vices and abject poverty in the affected areas,” the minister said.
He said the government has embarked on programmes such as mass afforestation and reforestation, including shelterbelt development, water resources management and targeted agricultural programmes, and provision of critical infrastructures to improve the well-being of the affected people as well as reduce their vulnerability to harsh and extreme climatic conditions.
In her speech, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Mrs Ibukun Odusote identified desertification as one of the causes of poverty in the front line states of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Yobe, Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara.
Odusote noted that government efforts in tackling the scourge of desertification is being hampered by the magnitude of the challenge and huge financial requirements, lack of synergy among stakeholders, networking and knowledge sharing, policy inconsistency as well as lack of incentive for private involvement and funding constraints.