President Muhammadu Buhari has directed collaboration between Ministries of the Environment, Water Resources, Agriculture and Rural Development, Power, and all other relevant stakeholders in combating desertification in Nigeria.
According to a statement by Femi Adesina, the President spoke Thursday in Nairobi, Kenya, during a sideline meeting with Mr Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
Buhari, who is attending the Special Session of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP@50), said the collaboration should also include the 11 States prone to drought and desert encroachment, under the aegis of Northern Governors Forum.
The President equally directed full cooperation between Nigeria and UNCCD in the prelude to the forthcoming meeting to combat desertification billed for Cote D’Ivoire in May, 2022.
Mr Thiaw said apart from the meeting in Cote D’Ivoire, Climate Change conference would hold in Egypt later in the year, noting that “the Conference of the Parties (COP) would be coming back to Africa after 11 years.”
On desertification, he said Africa lost about 60% of its arable land in the past 50 years, leading to a challenge of feeding the people.
“Land degradation is about food, peace and security. And land restoration provides multiple solutions. It brings carbon back to the soil when you cultivate the land,” the Executive Secretary said.
He noted that no one qualifies more to speak on large scale restoration of land, than the Nigerian leader, who is also President of the Great Green Wall, submitting that Nigeria has the greatest stretch of the Wall, which is over 1,000 kilometers.
On drought, Thiaw said it was a phenomenon that had always existed, “but is now much more severe, and a global issue.”
He said President Buhari’s leadership is important to drive the process of tackling the various germane issues on desertification, drought, and land restoration.