2023 Election: Why the next Nigerian Government must prioritize building resilience to extreme climate change

The spread of extreme climatic conditions is now a global plague. In Nigeria, the impact of climate change varies in different ecological regions of the country through the intensity of extreme temperatures, sea-level rise, drought, flooding, and food insecurity. Also, many villages, towns, and cities in Africa's most populous nation have recorded human casualties and displacements with many people living in makeshift camps due to rising conflicts.

Abiola Durodola
Profile
September 17, 2022
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3
min read

The spread of extreme climatic conditions is now a global plague. In Nigeria, the impact of climate change varies in different ecological regions of the country through the intensity of extreme temperatures, sea-level rise, drought, flooding, and food insecurity. Also, many villages, towns, and cities in Africa's most populous nation have recorded human casualties and displacements with many people living in makeshift camps due to rising conflicts.

One of the root causes of the farmer-herders crisis in Northern/Southern Nigeria is dry pastoral farms and drought as herders who seek food for their cattle clash with farmers who also face extreme climate conditions. This conflict has also caused hardship and displacement for many people. Women and girls, who are now forced to live outside their ancestral homes and villages are faced with sexual and gender-based violence. Further, the impact of climate change has deepened the woes of people affected by the conflict despite not having the ability to withstand it.

For many inhabitants of the Northern Sahelian Zone of Nigeria, the climate condition is extreme as desert encroachment continues to claim vast swathes of fertile land and pasture for cattle grazing. In the middle belt, the dryness of many grazing fields and inadequate resources to feed cattle has led to violence in many rural communities in the country.

Asa response to the effect of the climate crisis in Africa, the Great Green Wall Initiative was established to help communities tackle climate change byre storing 100 million hectares of currently degraded land. Nigeria is one of the countries concerned in the pan-African initiative with the country’s President taking the leadership of the Pan-African Agency for the Great Green Wall while billion of US dollars have been pledged by world leaders to support this initiative.

However, it is not clear whether this mechanism introduced will adequately address extreme climate-related issues in Nigeria, particularly in the northern region due to poor implementation that has affected previous treaties and mechanisms. Despite climate activist and advocates effort to assess the activities of the Great Green Wall Initiative and its implementation in Nigeria as a way to evaluate the impact of the funds on helping people build legibility and resilience to extreme climatic conditions, citizens must as a matter of urgency ask important questions as the country get set for the 2023 elections.

Therefore, prioritizing climate change initiatives is also important, as climate-related issues like drought, desertification, and extreme temperature remain a major challenge for many development ambitions in Nigeria. Hence, successive governments in Nigeria must further expand on the international governance mechanisms and the countries' ability to coordinate them internationally and nationally.