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35% Nigeria land mass threatened by desertification –FG

Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja

A total land mass of about 323,319 kilometre-square, representing 35 per cent of the country’s entire land area, is now threatened by desertification, the Federal Government declared on Wednesday.

It disclosed this in Abuja as Nigeria joined other countries in commemorating the 2020 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.

In his address at an event to mark the day, the Minister of Environment, Mohammad Abubakar, explained that the 35 per cent of Nigeria’s land mass that was being threatened include the dry land zones lying between Latitude 10 degree North and 14 degree North.

Abubakar said extreme weather variation and unsustainable resource management, coupled with the impact of climate change, overgrazing, and unsustainable agricultural practices had further increased the desertification threat.

The minister noted that the population of about 40 million people who depend mainly on the land resources in the threatened area, the increase in demand for energy, food, fibre and the likes, had continued to exert great pressure on the limited land mass.

“This effect has led 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 impacts,” Abubakar stated.

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