World Environment Day: Nigeria's deforestation rate alarming — Environment Minister

Shina Abubakar – Osogbo

Nigeria’s Minister of Environment, Dr Mohammad Mahmood has disclosed that the rate of deforestation in the country is a source of concern for the government as it contributes to a high rate of food insecurity.

This is as the Minister added that the 4 percent rate of deforestation in the country is not only alarming but unacceptable and urged stakeholders to cooperate with government to stem the trend.

Dr Mahmood spoke at the 2021 World Environment Day with the theme “Ecosystem Restoration-Res our Relation with Nature”, organised by the Federal Ministry of Environment in conjunction with the State Ministry of Environment and Sanitation held at De-distinguish Event Centre, Osogbo, Osun State on Saturday.

He added that the government, worried by the situation, has embarked on nature-based programmes and projects to control the trend, as well as formulating policies and legislation aimed at stemming the tide.

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“The Federal Government, being conscious of the alarming rate of deforestation standing at between 3.7 – 4.0%, has continued to engage locally and internationally, in addition to the formulation of enabling policies and legislations aimed to bring the situation under control. The Federal Government has also commenced execution of nature-based programmes and projects to address the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss in view of their multiple benefits which include among others, climate amelioration, improved ecosystem services, enhanced water security, enhanced food security (especially through Agroforestry, improved soil organic carbon and water retention, improved productivity and resilience), disaster risk reduction, and improved nature-based jobs and livelihoods”, Dr Mahmood stated.

He added that the human interaction with the environment coupled with impacts of climate change have further enhance exerted pressur on the environment, including the marine ecosystem.

“Man’s interaction with nature, coupled with the challenges and impacts of Climate Change, have grossly exacerbated the deleterious state of the environment.   Even, the terrestrial and marine ecosystems are not spared. It is instructive that the world population especially Africa, has continued to increase geometrically, leading to an unprecedented competition for the available meagre resources for survival. Other endemic factors such as poverty, food shortage, high unemployment rate, and recently COVID-19 pandemic have significantly worsened the ecosystem, resulting in weak resilience and adaptation and thereby denying us of its invaluable services”, he said.

The federal government, according to the Minister is working to ensure that the environment is efficiently protected for the sake of humanity.

“We are redressing the various anomalies through the On-going National afforestation programme across all the ecological zones of the country including the establishment of Great Green Wall across the frontline States with  other associated programmes such as sensitization and awareness creation, promotion of dryland agricultural technology, provision of water for irrigation and domestic uses, development of grazing resources, promotion of alternative and sustainable sources of energy, promotion of alternative means of livelihoods as well as creation of enabling environment for the development of agro-based industries”, he added.

In his remark, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola while commending the FG for the bold step towards preserving the economy and ensure proper relation between human and the habitat.

“It is sad that wanton destruction of our ecosystem is often done without consideration for the immediate and remote importance of the various biological diversities in such ecosystem. 

“We seem to have completely forgotten as a people that each species of plants and animals on our planet plays a complementary role in the healthy functioning of the natural ecosystems on which human survival depends. We must not forget that our health relies entirely on the vitality of our fellow species on earth and that the ecosystem is the warehouse for the biological diversity of plants and animals.

“Indeed, the foundation that supports all lives on land and below the waters, the foods we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate that makes our planet habitable all come from the natural ecosystem.

“It is heartening that the world comes together annually to build capacity and weave workable strategy around recapturing our traumatised environment for the comfort and benefit of humanity”, said Oyetola.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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