Food scarcity threatens 35 million Nigerians
Drought looms, says expert
Eleven frontline states in northern Nigeria are threatened with food scarcity due to extreme weather conditions.Between 50 and 75 percent of land in Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kano, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara and Yobe states are under threat of desertification due to global warming.
The National President of the Nigerian Environmental Society (NES), Prof. Lawrence Ezemonye, who made the disclosure in a paper delivered in Lafia, Nasarawa State, revealed that over 350,000 hectares of land was lost annually to desert encroachment.
Translated, it means 35 million Nigerians in the affected states will face severe food scarcity.Ezemonye said desertification was affecting northern states and almost one-fifth of the land area of Nigeria is fast becoming a desert. About 43.3 per cent of land in the area is prone to drought.
This, according to him, includes arable land used for both agriculture and other economic activities; fuel wood of marginal lands, which aggravates drought due to climate change that in turn accelerates the rate of desertification.
The NES chief added that the Sahara desert is ravaging beyond the arid zones of Nigeria forcing the Lake Chad to recede in northern parts of the country. “Solid minerals mining have left numerous un-remediated mine sites which are becoming very hazardous for people in neighborhoods.”
Former NES president, Andah Wai-Ogosu also maintained that thousands of heaps of mine wastes now found to be radioactive were abandoned after the decline of tin mining many years back. “Yet these piles of the dangerous wastes remain unattended to.”
He hinted that Zamfara State has heavy metal pollution and mortality, which has been attributed to open cast mining between 1990 and 2000, disclosing that Nigeria lost an average of 409,700 hectares of forest annually.
To him, Nigeria probably has the world’s highest deforestation rate of primary forests today, having lost more than half of its primary forests in the last five decades.
Wai-Ogosu maintained that Nigeria’s thirst for economic growth at all costs is often unsustainable and has devastating impact on the well being of future generation. He added that unsustainable consumption and production continues to drive demands way beyond the capacity of the natural environment.
“Unfortunately, greenhouse gas emissions are rising, biodiversity is disappearing at an unprecedented rate, and many of the ecosystems are severely degraded and altered,” said Wai-Ogosu.