FG to Rehabilitate 10m Degraded Land Nationwide

The Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, has disclosed that the Federal Government is committed to reversing, rehabilitating and restoring over 10 million degraded lands nationwide.

This, he explained, will help to achieve the nation’s Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) targets, with a view to boosting agricultural production, guarantee food security, and also fast-track industrial development by 2030.

Dr. Abubakar, made this known when he led the Ministry’s management and staff to commemorate this year’s “World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought”, at Bwari Area Council of the FCT.

According to him, it is estimated that about 35% of the total land area of Nigeria, which include the drylands zones lying between Latitude 10oN and 14oN, is threatened by desertification.

“This zone covering the eleven frontline states mostly vulnerable to drought, land degradation and desertification due to its fragile ecosystem, extreme weather variation and unsustainable resources management is more threatened with the impacts of climate change. We are aware that the dryland despite its fragile nature has lots of economic potentials and a population of about 40 million people who depend mainly on the land resources for their livelihood,” he said.

The Minister, further said that the increase in demand for energy, food, fibre, etc. due to the rapid population growth, exerts great pressure on the limited land resources, which leads to the degradation and depletion of the resources, thereby increasing the threat to food and water security, livelihood, and sustainability of life, encouraging biodiversity loss, forced migration and promotion of resource-use conflicts, making communities more vulnerable to climate change impacts.

He however, noted that the Nigerian Government has also made tremendous effort towards checking the menace of desertification, through development of policies and building institutional and legislative capacities to enhance effective and far-reaching actions to reduce the impact of drought and desertification on the citizenry.

“Some of the policies and actions includes: the National Policy on Drought and Desertification, National Drought Plan, and implementation of a number programs and projects aimed at combating desertification, land degradation and mitigating the impacts of drought such as Sand Dune Stabilization, development of shelterbelts and wind brakes, woodlot establishment, establishment of drought mitigation structures and more recently the Great Green Wall initiative, which involves planting of trees from the west coast of the Sahara Desert to the East coast, to stop the southward movement of the desert and make it more productive,” he said.

Dr. Abubakar, assured that FG will continue to support this initiative and other initiatives including the African Initiative to Combat Desertification (AI-CD) the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), and the African Ministerial Council on Environment (AMCEN), among others.

  1. He further disclosed that the slogan for the 2020 World Desertification and Drought Day “Food, Feed and Fibre” is aimed at drawing attention of the public to the impacts of activities of man on the land resources in the quest to provide Food, Feed and Fibre for the teeming population, which he said are the drivers of land degradation.