Climate change is arguably one of the biggest environmental problem that keeps threatening the existence of man and the sustainability of the planet. The agricultural system and food security in Nigeria is dependent on favourable weather conditions which climate change keeps changing literally to their disadvantage. The threat posed by climate change in Nigeria also has a direct impact on the productivity of agriculture production factors such as soil’s moisture and soil fertility which has spiralled into a bad case of aggressive desert encroachment.Desertification is seen as the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and sub-humid dry areas caused mainly by climatic changes and human activities.
This means that arable land that could have been used for farming and other commercial activities are turning into arid and unfertile lands. Northeast Nigeria is located in a high drought region faced with rapid desert encroachment. Even though there has been no recent record of a severe drought in Nigeria, low moisture supply during the planting season is also a form of mild drought which has led to increased desertification across states in Nigeria. The effect of the advancing Sahara Desert is more directly felt in 11 northern states of Nigeria.
The area already exposed to the effects of desertification in Nigeria is estimated at about 326,000 square kilometres cutting across Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kano, Jigawa, Borno, Yobe, Katsina, Gombe, Adamawa and Bauchi states. States such as Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara are generally regarded as the most desertification prone areas often been described as desertification frontline areas. The Sahara desert is advancing southward at an alarming rate of 0.6km per year, consequently Nigeria loses about 350,000 hectares of land to desertification, maiming arable land and displacing thousands of people in villages across 11 states in the north.Some major access roads have been buried under sand dunes in the extreme northern parts of Katsina, Sokoto, Jigawa, Borno and Yobe states leading to internal displacement of persons.
Northeast Nigeria is racing against time to combat and push back the rapidly encroaching Sahara desert. More trees need to be planted as a matter of urgency and other environmental unfriendly practices like indiscriminate waste management and open defecation need to be tackled immediately. Deforestation and informal charcoal dealers who burn down trees and forests in order to obtain charcoal need to be dealt with decisively so as to combact this rising menace.
This climate and environmental cry for help demands action be taken with alacrity to maintain the sustainability of the Nigerian environment and our food security.