Climate change is a global phenomenon, and is evident in Nigeria. The oil rich African country is currently faced with adverse climate conditions that already have negative impacts on the welfare of millions of people. There are persistent droughts, flooding, and excessive rains resulting in disaster around the country. The flood disaster in 2012 affected a lot of people in Nigeria especially women and children, while 363 people were killed, and over 2,100,000 were Internally Displaced. This call for an urgent attention and something needs to be done about global warming and climate change.

The reports that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the submission of the country’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) to address climate change to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is a bold step to ensuring that the  consequences of Climate Change such as the  drying up of the Lake Chad, that has affected the means livelihood of an estimated 30 million inhabitants of the Lake Chad Basin, spreading across Cameroun, Chad, Niger and Nigeria will not occur again. The cost of replenishing the lake has been put at 14 billion US Dollars under a five-year plan which should be accorded global attention. Nigeria also supports the African Union initiative on the Great Green Wall to halt desertification.

In order to prevent such situations form occurring, the Nigerian Government and all the stakeholders involves in the global phenomenon needs to:

  1. Increase public awareness: Enlightenment campaigns will contribute to climate change adaptation strategies and address the questions of what Nigerians can do as a citizen to lessen the impact of climate change. The results of climate change awareness survey recently conducted by British World Service Trust revealed that an average Nigerian is not aware of climate change despite its impact on our day-to-day activities, as little or no attention is paid to alarming change in weather pattern such as excessive flooding experienced in different parts of Nigeria. The federal Government should therefore engage in climate change enlightenment campaign strategies to sensitize Nigerians, particularly youth across the country and women in rural environment who are the most vulnerable groups to climate change and its attendant impact.
  2. To employ mitigation and adaptive strategies: Several funding schemes have been adapted globally to support climate change mitigation and adaptation such as Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under, Kyoto Protocol. Nigeria however is barely able to benefit from these global resources due to several factors such as stringent CDM funding guideline and inadequate private sector engagement in climate change programmes.  Although Nigeria may not have the finance resources or sophisticated technology to mitigate climate change, the country is endowed with mosaic of natural ecosystems that have the capacity for carbon sequestration. The tropical forests accounts for 15% of the earth land cover and contains not less than 25% carbon stock on earth surface. Despite the significant role of carbon storage among other vital benefit to man’s existence, they are daily unsustainably deforested with little or no regeneration plan. The Federal, State and Local Government, International agencies and other development partners are required to funds climate change projects in Nigeria for sustainable solution. The strategies that is to be employed includes afforestation, building of greenhouses, and putting in custody people that cut down trees
  3. Enact policies- The Ex Minister of Environment, Hadiza Mailafia, said the policy framework would guide economic and social response of Nigerians to the global trend of climate change. Being a signatory to Kyoto Protocol, Nigeria’s adoption of the policy will enhance her obligation towards reduction of emission of obnoxious substances in the environment even as it emerged that gas flaring in the country has been reduced to 8% and will improve further as more gas is sent to generate electricity in upcoming power stations, she disclosed. The council argued that, as party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol, Nigeria has the obligation to ensure the reduction of human induced atmospheric carbon emission to a level that will prevent dangerous interface with the climate system. Despite such recommendation Nigeria is yet to be at the forefront of climate change policy forum at regional and international levels despite the alarming effect of changing climate on lives and livelihoods across the 6 geo-political zones of Nigeria. The federal Government should ensure that the implementing of these policies is of utmost priority.

Happy Africa Union Day!

By Umar Danbaba Josiah

Research Fellow

Pan African Centre for Climate Policy


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