Buhari Voices Concern over Desert Encroachment

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Muhammadu Buhari

Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed concern about desertification engendered by climate change that is having effect on families as their farm lands shrink in size.

He called for action to address this global threat while receiving the Letter of Credence of the High Commissioner of Australia to Nigeria, Mrs. Claire Ireland, yesterday in Abuja.

In a State House statement, the President lamented that the vagaries of the weather was posing greater risks for the future.

He said the global attention on taming the effects of climate change was important, noting that population had been on the increase in Nigeria, and lands for investment and farming have turned more competitive.

“Before now 10 to 15 members of a family could own a land, but the desert encroachment and growth in population has created a situation where you can have 200 people struggling over a family land,’’ he said.

He noted that the effect of climate change on Lake Chad had created more economic challenges. Buhari said the shrinking of the lake had rendered many jobless, and left them with little or no options for survival, except crime.

In her remarks, the High Commissioner said Australia had maintained consistent economic growth for 29 years, scoring a record of development indicators that many countries had not been able to attain.

Mrs. Ireland said the growth had been largely driven by investments and diversification in the mining sector. She assured President Buhari that stronger partnerships would be explored for Nigeria’s potentials in minerals, education and agriculture.

Buhari, who also received Letter of Credence of the Ambassador of Sweden, Mr. Carl Michael, said Nigeria remains grateful for the strong partnership it had enjoyed over the years, urging the diplomat to use his stay to improve trade relations.

Ambassador Michael assured Buhari of his desire to deepen political and economic relations between Sweden and Nigeria, pointing out that there are many opportunities for cooperation, including trade and investments.

Receiving the Letter of Credence of the Ambassador of Zimbabwe to Nigeria, Mr. Maxwell Ranga, President Buhari said Nigeria had enjoyed long years of cooperation with Zimbabwe. He noted that Nigeria had also been playing a major role in Africa.

Ranga said Zimbabwe appreciates Nigeria’s support during the country’s struggle for independence.

“I have been tasked by my President, His Excellency, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to take this relationship to greater heights. My mandate is to improve trade and economic relations. We are facing sanctions and we implore your support for our country,’’ he said.