From the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) came yesterday warning that poverty level in Nigeria may continue to rise except practical steps are taken to checkmate the fast depleting natural resources.
FAO, an agency of the United Nations, which noted that Nigeria had the fastest depletion of natural resources in the world, said the country must quickly reduce the level of desertification.
The FAO Country Representative to Nigeria, Suffyan Koroma, gave the warning in Abuja at the Nigeria Redd+ Programme Capacity building workshop on remote sensing techniques/spatial data analysis and the use of open source GIS software (SEPAL tools).
He said: “Poverty and climate change issues are closely related, and if we are not careful in managing our natural resources, the country will continue to sink deeper into poverty, no matter how well we try.”
Koroma, who was represented by the Assistant FAO Representative, Ahmed Matane, identified high population growth rate as one of the reasons for the fast depletion as many communities depend on the natural resources as their source of livelihood.
He decried the weak enforcement of forest regulations, saying it makes people see the forests as public goods and do not care about the impact of their unguided actions.
Matane, who applauded the government Great Green Wall programme in which N10billion was approved for planting of trees to reduce desertification, stressed the need for attitudinal change in forest management as their is sustainability in any community that manages its forest properly.
He said FAO was building on the gains of the forest inventory that has been completed in Cross River and expanded it Ondo and Nassarawa states.
The Director, Federal Department of Forestry, Ministry of Environment Andrew Adejo, commended UN agency for the ongoing forest inventory in Nassarawa, Ondo, Jigawa, Kaduna and Taraba states.
Adejo expressed regret that the country has not been able to access the $185million from the United Nations Development Programme to support climate change.
He urged the global agency to speed up the inventory process across the country so that Nigeria does not miss out in accessing the funds.
Adejo said the ministry would remove all the bottleneck in the process of accessing the grant.