President Muhammadu Buhari has directed collaboration between the Ministries of Environment, Water Resources, Agriculture and Rural Development and Power to combat desertification.
Femi Adesina, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, stated that the president gave the directive in Nairobi after a meeting with Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, UNCCD.
Mr Buhari, who is attending a Special Session of the UN Environmental Programme ([email protected]), said the 11 states prone to drought and desert encroachment should join in the collaboration on the platform of the 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.
In his remarks, 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 would be coming back to Africa after 11 years.’’
On desertification, he said Africa lost about 60 per cent 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.
According to him, 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.
He added that Nigeria had the greatest stretch of the Wall, which is longer than 1,000 kilometres.
On drought, Mr Thiaw said it was a phenomenon that had always existed, “but is now much more severe, and have become a global issue’’.
He said Mr Buhari’s leadership is important to drive the process of tackling the various germane issues on desertification, drought, and land restoration.