Salisu Mohammed Dahiru, national coordinator of NEWMAP, disclosed this in Benin City during the 10th Environmental Outreach Public lecture/environmental awards ceremony organised by the publisher of Environment Outreach Magazine, Noble Akenge.
Dahiru, who delivered the public lecture with the theme, “Managing Land Degradation in Nigeria: The Challenges, Actions and Remediations,” also disclosed that 1,558,62 hectares of environmentally degraded sites had, as at February 2019, been recovered in the country.
He said the hectares were among the 21 first wave of sites including activities in the Northern states with 94 percent average physical progress.
Dahiru, who explained that the sites were reclaimed through civil works, bio-engineering and other measures, said two sites were completed and commissioned in Enugu, 56 new sites designed and cleared for implementation across first states while 20 sites had been stabilised and reduced in severity.
The NEWMAP boss said 30 sites projects were targeted in year 2020 while other states were at the verge of commissioning completed sites.
According to Dahiru, 20 sites have been stabilised and reduced in severity, 30 sites as project target this year. Two sites in Enugu have been commissioned while other states are focused on commissioning completed.
“Currently, 1,558,62 hectares reclaimed as a result of civil works, bio-engineering and other measures, 702 hectares reported in June 2018. Increase due to rehabilitation of degraded land in Kano, Sokoto and Gombe states.
“Advances have been made by new states in areas of clearance of needs assessment and other studies to key into the project. The states have stepped up activities in providing sensitisation and awareness to members of the community and stakeholders within the state government,” he said.
He, however, said the sum of N11,226,293,496 billion counterpart funds had been released to the project while $442,473,811,77 billion, representing 96.5 percent, had been disbursed.
He also added that a total of N421,999,212 million had been disbursed as sub-grants to 5,159 beneficiaries made up of 2,346 male and 2,813 females under the livelihood enhancement activities, while about 68 officers received specialised training across relevant ministries, departments and agencies.
He further disclosed that the project had installed 19 meteorological stations, 15 hydrological stations and 10 automated flood early warning systems across river basins, noting that it had attained 79 percent while the targeting project would be 80 percent by 2020.
Dahiru, who noted that Nigeria was ranked the highest country with deforestation rate in the world, said 24 billion tons of fertile soil was lost every year globally while 7.3 million of hectares of forest were lost yearly globally.
He said Nigeria as a country lost about 450,000 to 600,000 hectares of forest annually.
Earlier, the chairman of the occasion, Lawrence Ezemonye, called on Nigerians to lend their voices to the passage of the bill of the institute of environmental practitioners of Nigeria.
Ezemonye, who is the Vice Chancellor of Igbinedion University, Okada, said the bill would ensure the Nigerian environment was protected in line with global practices.