Director–General, National Agency for the Great Green Wall, NAGGW, Mr. Goni Ahmed said in Nigeria, dry lands constitute about 43 percent of its total land area covering 11 states, which is directly threatened by land degradation causing serious food insecurity, abject poverty, forced migration and natural resource use conflicts, resulting to insurgency in some areas.
Ahmed said this during a presentation at the technical session of the 10th National Council on Environment going on in Lafia, Nasarawa State.
He said one-third of the world’s population is living in dry lands, facing huge stress such as repetitive droughts and poor soil fertility that get worsened by climate change.
The DG, who spoke on the topic, ‘Reviving the Sahara and Sahel to regenerate livelihood,’ said that Dry lands in the sub-Saharan Africa cover about 14 millionsqkm and is habitat to about 70 percent of crop land and 82 percent of livestock holders and productivity in these areas are seriously challenged by natural and human factors.
In recognition of land degradation as a global phenomenon, the DG explained that the GGW initiative was presented by the Nigerian government to the African Union as a holistic regional approach to combat desertification and improve livelihood of affected communities.
He disclosed that the initiative led to the signing of the convention on GGW 11-member countries and the creation of Pan African Agency of Great Green Wall, PAGGW, and adopted by the African Union, AU.
According to him, most of the population is dependent on natural and land resources based economy for their livelihoods with over 80 percent of the nation’s vegetables and livestock produced in the area. This unique economic hub deserves priority attention by all tiers of government and citizenry.
The DG said the NAGGW had embarked on activities in realisation of the mandate of the Great Green Wall programme such as establishment of shelterbelt/windbreak and woodlot plantations, promotion of agro-forestry and renewable energy,
Other activities include Farmers Managed Natural Regeneration, promotion of human livelihood activities, provision of water and rural infrastructure, skill acquisitions and employment generation, support dry lands research effort, school outreach programmes, sand dune stabilisation, oases development and others.
He urged governments of the affected states to make financial contributions through budgetary allocation as well as provide land and community mobilisation to support the programme.

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