The Climate and Sustainable Development Network, (CSDevNet), a Civil Society group in Nigeria has called for a nationwide remediation programme to combat desertification and drought in the country.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees of the network, Dr Ibrahim Choji, made the call in an interview with Journalists in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Choji said that CSDevNet believed that attention must be paid to land if meaningful results were to be achieved as Nigerians depended on it for both their long-term and immediate needs.
“Any developmental strategy including the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (EGRP) that does not encompass environmental remediation and land neutrality will not achieve meaningful results.
“To achieve land neutrality in Nigeria, governments across all levels and stakeholders must strive to create a country where the amount and quality of land resources, necessary to support ecosystem functions and services: enhance food security remains stable or increases within specified temporal and spatial scales and ecosystems,” he emphazised.
According to him, CSDevNet is calling for a nationwide land remediation programme as years of insurgency, terrorism, militancy and pastoralist crises have inadvertently left behind a land filled with relics of war tools such as explosives, poisonous canisters and land mines.
“Through the deployment of weapons with high destructive capacities, both security forces and terrorists have contributed to the degradation of the Nigerian environment.
“Their activities in the Sambisa forest and creeks of the Niger Delta have greatly depleted the country’s forest resources just as some reforestation programmes have been put on hold in areas with astounding threats of desertification.
“These directly affect livelihoods through decreased access to land, and inadequate access to natural resources, displacement and the loss of biodiversity,” he explained.
Choji said that a comprehensive nationwide clean-up exercise would go a long way in reclaiming the environment for farming and other land uses.