The Minister of Environment, Dr. Iziaq Salako, the former Vice Chancellor, Lagos State University Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun SAN, and the Executive Director, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi, have called for increased and sustained funding to mitigate the impact of climate change in Nigeria.
The Minister, who was represented by Mr. Jonah Barde, made the disclosure at the 2nd National Conference on Climate Change 2023 in Abuja, with the theme: “Creating Agenda for Sustainable Climate Finance for Nigeria”, underscored the importance of recognizing climate change as not just an environmental concern but also an economic, social and moral imperative that demands coordinated and collective action.
Recall that stakeholders say climate change is the most serious existential crisis that the world is presently contending with today even as Nigeria is said to be on the frontline, with ravaging impact of desert encroachment and droughts especially in the North axis.
There has been rising flops in the South and decreasing precipitation in the North-east and the increase in rainfall and temperature in the middle-belt which negatively affects the livelihoods of local communities.
The conference featured engaging panel sessions and insightful discussions that interrogated the Nigerian Agenda for COP28, the hidden truth about carbon offsets, the plight of the sinking city of Ayetoro in Ondo State for instance, the unending pollution siege on the Niger Delta, the disappearing Lake Chad, the African Climate Summit pact and other global climate conversations of national interest.
In his remark, Oluwafemi, called on the federal government and international development partners to provide more funding to address climate change challenges in rural areas in the country.
He said, “Days after the just concluded African Climate Summit in Kenya, Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) cautioned that about 178 local government areas (LGAS) in 32 of the 36 states in Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) fall within the highly probable flood risk areas.
According to him, more than 830 kilometres of coastline areas and communities in Nigeria are increasingly threatened by floods, erosion, water, and air pollution. Communities in the Niger Delta states bordering the Atlantic Ocean have lost or fear losing their homes and farmlands due to the eroding bedrock shielding the shoreline.
According to him, Northern part of Nigeria, He said desertification is encroaching on Nigeria’s arable lands, affecting roughly 580,841 square kilometers out of 927,892 square kilometers, with approximately 62 million at its Northern fringes.
“Nigerians now directly or indirectly impacted. Climatic fluctuations, deforestation, extensive cultivation, overgrazing, marginal land use, bushfires, firewood harvesting, faulty irrigation systems, and urbanization have all been identified as major contributing factors to this phenomenon.” He said.
He stressed that the climate finance in Nigeria has relied exclusively on concessional debt which is about 46% and non-concessional debt at 25%, adding that grant and equity-based finance currently play a relatively minimal role in Nigeria’s climate finance ecosystem at 5% and 12% respectively.
Nigeria’s climate finance is not reflective of the country’s vulnerability. Efforts in adaptation and mitigation are yet to be scaled up significantly to embrace our realities, the Director, said.
“In Nigeria like every other country in sub-Saharan Africa is classed as a vulnerable country considering its exposure to climate risks. The effects of climate change are set to accelerate over the coming years unless progressive climate finance and a well-structured loss and damage funding mechanism are institutionalized and appropriately managed.
“There is undoubtedly a need to create a new source of finance that will address climate risks and arrest emission upsurge.”
On his part the Programme Manager, CAPPA Mr. Oyunlade Olande Montes, while making his remarks said the impact of climate change on Nigeria’s environmental and socio-economic systems is compounding the country’s fragility risk and reducing with speed the survival limit of its people.
Meanwhile the Prof of Environmental Law and former Vice Chancellor, Lagos State University Prof Olanrewaju Fagbohun SAN, said: “The impact of climate change is becoming more frequent, more intense and resulting in more damage and loss of lives.”
Among the direct and indirect consequences of climate change which continue to dawn on humanity on a daily basis, according to him, are destruction of livelihoods, spread of diseases, disruption of ecosystems, deepening conflicts as a result of diminishing resources, destruction of critical infrastructure, loss of cultural heritage and indigenous knowledge, forced displacement of human population and diminution of basic standards of living.