Nigeria: Ogoni Cleanup, Desertification, Erosion Control Our Priority in 2018 - Minister

24 January 2018

The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril, has disclosed that will focus on three key issues - Ogoni cleanup, desertification and erosions control - this year.

Jibril said the ministry has a lot of activities nationwide but that funding was limited, such that they have to prioritise.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja while receiving the new FAO country representative, Suffyan Koroma and his management team, the minister said the first on the list is the Ogoni cleanup.

"We need to clean Ogoni land of oil pollution so that if and when we are diversifying they can also do their farming and fishing activities. For now they cannot do these because the land and water are polluted," Jibril said.

He said: "Our emphasis will be driven strictly toward ensuring that we achieve tremendous result in the next three to six months for the people."

Second on the list, he said, is the issue of desertification, which is of grave concern to the ministry. He added that the ministry would put a lot of pressure on the National Agency for Great Green Wall (NAGGW) to deliver results.

"This is where the collaboration will come to play, to deliver the strength of our capacities and strengthen our means of doing things according to best practices and to be sure that the lost and degraded lands are recovered and kept in a manageable, sustainable way," he stated

Thirdly, he said, with the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) taking care of gully erosion in the entire country, they intend to restore degraded lands.

"We have 19 states on this programme and we want to continue to ensure that we recover lands degraded as a result of gully erosion which occur as a result of poor land management practices. If we can get our act right and get people to change their way of doing things and move on to a land sustainable management, I believe we can achieve a lot," he said.

In his remark, Koroma, who noted that FAO has been the longest development partner that Nigeria has, said there are a couple of challenges facing Nigeria which they are working together to address.

He said talking about diversification and restoration of degraded land and other aspects, FAO will work with the ministry to look at the review of forest policy, National Afforestation project investment plan and other hardcore areas.

"Our activities are spread across a lot of spheres and we are also responding to the government priority," he stated.

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