Edwin Osawe-Iguisi, the director of the Centre for Disaster Risk Management and Development Studies at the Ahmadu Bello University, has warned that desertification is rising in Nigeria.
In a keynote address, Mr Osawe-Iguisi observed that the Nigerian environment was currently experiencing widespread degradation. He attributed that to deforestation, mining activities, urbanisation, and unwholesome agriculture.
Mr Osawe-Iguisi stated this at the EMAN 2021 annual conference in Kano.
“The country is experiencing a high rate of desertification 35 per cent in 11 states over the past 50 years,” he said.
Mr Osawe-Iguisi further explained that in 2018 air pollution cost 11,200 lives, and the country generated 63 million tonnes of waste.
“Only 30 per cent to 50 per cent of waste is collected with the rest randomly disposed of, such that Nigeria has the highest level of plastic production in Africa and rapidly e-waste problem,” he said.
Meanwhile, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano has said that the government would partner Environmental Management Association of Nigeria (EMAN) to prevent and ameliorate various environmental predicaments facing the state.
Mr Ganduje, represented by the Commissioner of Environment, Kabiru Getso, noted that the government had recruited 1,000 sanitation vanguards to ensure strict compliance with environmental laws.
“We have keyed into the National Great Green Walls (NGGW) project, funds and lands were provided for the establishment of community tree nurseries and plantations,” he said.
The governor added that desilting was ongoing to address major and minor drainage systems in the state to prevent flooding.
“We have provided N500 million in counterpart funds and office complex for the state project management unit (SPMU) on Erosion control, water-washed management, tree planting, capacity building, and livelihood enhancement,” said Mr Ganduje.
He commended EMAN for holding the conference in Kano and urged them to probe into different environmental challenges facing the different geo-political zones of the country and proffer solutions.
The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Agency (NESREA) director-general, Aliyu Jauro, said the agency had implemented the extended producer responsibility (EPR) programme in Nigeria.
“For the life cycle of their products and, in particular, recycling and final disposal of the products and its packaging, the agency has developed 33 environmental regulations between 2012 and 2020, and 180 companies were sanctioned for various offences,” said Mr Jauro.