The Federal Ministry of Environment says it is committed to sensitising the public to the several effects of desertification and climate change in the front line states.
Mr Aliyu Bananda, the Director, Drought and Desertification Amelioration, in the ministry said this in Abuja.
Bananda said that the 11 frontline states were Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe, Gombe and Zamfara states.
He said that the activities of the department had been extended to cover buffer states, which included Benue, Kaduna, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Taraba and FCT.
He said that the buffer states were those states that absorbed pressure from the frontline states.
The director, however, said that the department’s activities focused largely on the 11 states, adding that the sensitisation exercise also concentrated on those states.
Bananda said that the states were facing perceptible climate change and desertification problems.
He said that his department was also involved in the reclamation and restoration of degraded dry lands in the frontline states.
He said that desertification, a type of land degradation, had caused the dry lands to become increasingly arid, typically losing its bodies of water as well as vegetation and wildlife.
He however, said that desertification could be caused by factors such as climate change and over-exploitation of soil by human activities.
Bananda, therefore, said that the department had been conducting a public awareness campaign in the frontline states on the consequences of desertification and climate change.
“In the awareness campaign, the department has been striving to educate the people on these effects and what can be done to mitigate the problems. We showcase our activities and tell the people about the dangers of degrading in the land. That is why we go to the front line states and stage the public awareness campaign, right from the grassroots level, there. We tell the people to be mindful of the kind of activities they do in the environment and the importance of planting trees. We don’t just tell them to plant trees; we also show them how to plant the trees,’’ he said.
Bananda said that the department was charged with the responsibility of preventing and controlling desert encroachment in the country.