The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) Support Office in Nigeria on Thursday told the new Ministers of Environment to focus on increasing the nation's forest and vegetation cover.
The Representative of the programme in Nigeria, Mr Kabir Yari, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.
Mrs Amina Mohammed and Mr Ibrahim Jibril were on Wednesday appointed Minister of Environment and Minister of State for Environment, respectively.
According to Yari, desertification, desert encroachment, deforestation, erosion, climate change and dwindling forest cover are key environmental issues that should be put in the front burner.
“At Nigerian Independence in 1960, the forest cover was 30 per cent but now, the cover is barely six per cent.
“This is a great challenge for the ministers as the forest cover is dwindling because of increasing population.
“There is need to increase the forest cover because the way it is now, is not good for us as a country.’’
Yari pointed out that many areas in the Northern parts of the country were being threatened by desertification.
He advised the ministers to ensure that the ‘Great Green Wall’ (GGW), which the country had undertaken in collaboration with other countries was properly handled.