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Desert encroachment affecting 15 states, says minister 

Desert encroachment affecting 15 states, says minister 
June 17
22:26 2021

Mohammad Abubakar, minister of environment, says 15 northern states of the country are affected by desert encroachment.

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Abubakar said this on Thursday at an event organised by the ministry in collaboration with the federal capital territory administration (FCTA) to commemorate the World Day of Desertification and Drought, marked on June 17 of every year.

He said the federal government is committed to ensuring sustainable development in the affected communities.

Abubakar also noted that the government has developed policies to enhance efforts to reduce the impact of desertification and drought.

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“Nigeria is faced with rapid desert encroachment affecting about 15 northernmost states from severe to moderate rate,” he said.

“It is worthy of note that these states affected by desertification have a population of over 40 million people and are home to over 95 percent of the livestock population in Nigeria, and have played a major role in the production of food for domestic consumption and export crops.

“Government is concerned about the disruption of the ecological system caused by poor land use, population pressure and the devastating activities of insurgents in the north-eastern part of the country with the dire consequences of land degradation, loss of lives and means of livelihood.

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“To this end, the government has put in place the North East Development Commission to restore human dignity and bring succour to the people living in this area.”

On his part, Muhammad Bello, minister of the federal capital territory (FCT), said the administration has also made efforts to address the situation.

“Here in the FCT, we have also keyed into the federal government’s efforts in the fight against desertification and drought, as we have begun the process of planting about 170,000 trees across the FCT with the collaboration of several non-governmental organisations, and members of the public,” he said.

In a goodwill message, Ifatimehin Olarewaju, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) correspondent on science and technology, urged government to embark on sensitisation programmes in rural areas.

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