35 per cent of Nigeria fast turning into desert, admits government

The country is known for high rate of deforestation

By Snigdha Das
Published: Tuesday 19 August 2014


Nigeria, known for the highest rate of deforestation in the world, is now grappling with twin chronic problems: drought and desertification. Environment Minister Laurentia Laraba Mallam has recently revealed that the country has lost about 351,000 hectares of land to desert encroachment, which is advancing southwards at a rate of about 0.6 kilometres per year, say news reports.

Mallam said that between 50 per cent and 75 per cent of the land mass in 11 northern Nigerian states, which account for about 35 per cent of the country's total land area, are affected by desertification. 

Speaking at an eco-fair held in Lokoja, capital of Kogi state, Mallam said that to mitigate the effect of climate change, the government had put in place various national strategies, funded and executed several drought and desertification control projects across the country, especially in the vulnerable frontline states. This includes afforestation programmes, development of teak and erosion-resistant species and establishing green belts.

But these interventions have not been totally commensurate with the resources expended, she said, adding that, “there is need for improved commitment and collaboration between the federal government and the beneficiary state governments and the affected communities to ensure effective implementation and sustenance of desertification control projects”.

Nigeria, which heavily relies on its oil reserves for economic growth, is also suffering from floods and pollution from various sources, including air, water, industrial/oil spills and solid waste management.    


The socio-economic implication of climatic change, desert encroachment and communal conflicts in Northern Nigeria

Combating desertification and mitigating the effects of drought in Nigeria

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