Benin — The National Coordinator, Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), Dr. Salisu Muhammed Dahiru, has disclosed that Nigeria is ranked the highest country with deforestation rate in the world.
Dahiru disclosed this today in Benin while delivering a lecture, titled "managing land degradation in Nigeria; the challenges, action and remediation" during the 10 Environmental Outreach Magazine public lecture and environmental award.
"24 billion tons fertile soil is lost every year globally. Also, 7.3 million of hectares of forest is lost yearly globally."
"Nigeria is said to be one of the country with the highest deforestation rate in the world with about 450,000 to 600,000 hectares of forest lost annually."
He identified population pressure, deforestation, bush burning, overgrazing, agricultural depletion of soil nutrients through poor farming, inappropriate irrigation and indiscriminate mining as some of the causes of land degradation in Nigeria.
While saying that NEWMAP had succeeded in reclaiming some of the lands lost to degradation, he noted that inconsistency in policies, inadequate budgetary and unhealthy rivalry between environmental agencies were affecting management of degradation and deforestation in the country.
According to him, to address the menace, political will, in terms of funding, policy execution as well as stakeholders cooperation was needed in managing land degradation.
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor, Igbinedion University and President Nigeria Environmental Society, Prof. Lawrence Ezemonye, lamented that the institute of environmental practitioners management bill, sponsored by the Nigerian environmental society had not received assent.
He said the bill will ensure that the Nigerian environment is protected in line with global practices and give rooms for competent hands and expert to manage the Nigerian environment.