Drought severely impacts 40 million Nigerians, Says FG

Minister of State for Environment, Dr. Iziaq Salako, disclosed that drought had severely affected around 40 million Nigerians, resulting in significant livelihood losses and increased poverty, particularly in the Lake Chad region.

This position was shared on his behalf by Alhaji Abdullahi Usman, a senior official from the ministry, at the World Environment Day celebration organized by the United Nations in Nigeria, in collaboration with Greenhub Africa Foundation and the Renewable Energy Efficiency Association.

Dr. Salako emphasized that despite several measures taken by Nigeria to mitigate the impact of drought, these efforts are insufficient to prevent further land degradation.

He stressed the urgent need for decisive actions to reverse the damage and restore lost land.

“Land degradation is a global sustainable development concern threatening soil productivity, food systems, biodiversity, water availability, energy, peace, security, and sustainable livelihoods,” he noted.

“For Nigerian farmers, herdsmen, and agro-foresters, it means a relentless struggle to cultivate crops, feed livestock, and maintain ecosystem stability.”

He further explained that a large proportion of those living in poverty globally are directly affected by land degradation, with the poorest Nigerians relying heavily on the land for sustenance.

“There is a direct connection between land degradation and poverty,” he stated.

Dr. Salako highlighted the critical importance of healthy land, noting that degraded land reduces the availability of arable land for agriculture, exacerbating food insecurity and forcing communities to migrate, which often leads to conflicts.

The theme for this year’s World Environment Day, “Land Restoration, Desertification, and Drought Resilience,” was deemed particularly relevant.

Dr. Salako pointed out the significant damage caused by human activities such as urbanization, unsustainable agriculture, deforestation, and uncontrolled mining, stressing the need for intervention to repair these damages.

He concluded by emphasizing the role of land restoration and management in providing sustainable solutions to global challenges and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Other notable speakers, including Professor Obas Ebohon, Chairman of Greenhub Africa, Dede Ekoue, Country Director of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Dominique Koffy, Country Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and Professor Magnus Onuoha, President of the Governing Council Alliance, called for policies to address the multidimensional risks of climate change and protect the environment.

The event, attended by stakeholders from UN-led and Civil Society Organizations on the environment, served as a platform for brainstorming and developing comprehensive solutions to achieve Nigeria’s voluntary Land Degradation Neutrality targets by 2030

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