The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, has disclosed that desertification has led to loss of resources in many areas in northern Nigeria.
Sultan said the North, on a yearly basis, loses $1.5billion economically due to desertification.
The monarch, who was the Guest Lecturer during the 18th Chief S. L. Edu Memorial Lecture in Lagos, said the figure had been rising daily.
He spoke on the theme: “The Role of Traditional Leaders in Protecting and Restoring the Nigerian Environment.”
Abubakar stated that the effects were higher in locations where desertification was more serious.
“It affects food security, food availability and food affordability. I want you to note that food production is not food availability, but food affordability,” the monarch said.
The Sultan, who called for collaboration of all stakeholders, described 2016 and 2019 as the hottest years Nigeria ever recorded.
He stated that event had shown that the “realities of climate change was here.
“There is 600 metres desert encroachment per annum and 60 per cent of farmland have been affected and food security is being threatened daily.”
He also cautioned politicians, traditional and religious leaders against politicising climate change crisis in the country, stressing that there was need to mobilise everybody to protect the environment.
The Sultan noted that the roles of traditional leaders in mitigating environmental issues are enormous.
“They relate with the people, live among them, speak their language and enjoy their trust,” be added.
The monarch also called for monitoring and evaluation of environmental programmes, stressing that this was important to meet the set target.
He said: “During the past administration, billions of naira was set aside to bring stoves in order to prevent women from cutting trees for firewood.
“The money was released and many women still cut down trees as firewood. I never saw the stoves. Where are the stoves and where is the money?”