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Lagos govt urges action against land degradation, drought

By George George Idowu

The Lagos State Government has called on residents to take proactive measures to combat land degradation and boost resilience to drought as 1.9 billion hectares have been affected globally and 168 countries is also been faced with severe land desertification.

Speaking at the grand finale of the 2024 World Environment Day celebration, Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, highlighted the theme “Land Restoration, Desertification, and Drought Resilience” as a crucial call to action.

Wahab emphasized that Lagos, like other megacities, faces natural challenges due to its rapid urbanization and growing population.

He said: “Land degradation, caused by unsustainable agricultural practices, deforestation, and climate change, affects 1.9 billion hectares globally. Desertification, turning fertile land into desert, is occurring in over 168 countries, posing a significant environmental threat.”

Wahab noted that droughts are becoming more frequent and severe, worsening climate change impacts and threatening ecosystem resilience.

In Nigeria, especially the northern region, land degradation and desertification are critical issues affecting agriculture, water resources, and livelihoods.

He stressed the importance of sustainable land management to improve soil fertility and productivity while mitigating climate change.

Wahab announced a Community Engagement and Education initiative to empower communities with knowledge and resources for sustainable land restoration and drought resilience.

Special Adviser to the Governor on Environment, Olakunle Rotimi-Akodu, pointed out the immense pressure on ecosystems from urbanization, climate change, pollution, and unsustainable land use.

He highlighted the state’s ongoing efforts in environmental conservation, including tree planting and waste management reforms, and the recent ban on styrofoam food containers.

Permanent Secretary of the Office of Environmental Services, Dr. Gaji Tajudeen reminded participants of the global environmental challenges and the need for sustainable practices.

Guest speaker Dr. Soladoye Iwajomo described land restoration as crucial for reversing degradation and enhancing productivity through reforestation and soil conservation.

The event concluded with the presentation of Green Awards to private sector operators for their contributions to environmental sustainability, reporting, and restoration.


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