By Luka Binniyat
ABUJA â€“Â Minister of Environment, Mr. John Odey, said Nigeria loses about $750 million annually as 350,000 hectares of its forest land is annually depleted by direct human activities and climate change.
Odey also said the Sahara Desert in Nigeria was moving southwards at a rate of 600 metres per year with about 100,000 farming families moving southwards as a result of the desertification.
The Minister made this known at a one-day Public Interaction on Climate organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Climate Change chaired by Ezeuiche Ubani (PDP/Abia).
The Committee organised the forum for Nigeria to articulate its position on the forth coming Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen in December.
â€œBetween 1978 and 1995, Nigeriaâ€™s forest reserved dwindled from 13,441,200 ha to 11,774,300 ha (25.7% to 16.0%),â€ he said.
According to the Minister, â€œlosses due to unsustainable exploitation of Nigeriaâ€™s forest resources, andÂ agents of climate changeÂ is estimated to be about US$750 million (orÂ N110 billion) annuallyâ€, warning that, â€œIf the rate of deforestation is not reversed, more than 50 million Nigerians will be directly affected by its impactsâ€, he said.