By Victor Amusa
From unstable weather patterns to diminishing water supply, poor water quality, dwindling agriculture to poor food production, which have had a deteriorating effect on human health, the attendant hard times on a vulnerable population; especially women and children are proof of a massive disruption in the Eco balance, and Climate Change threats are evidently pervading the length and breadth of Africa. The typical communal lifestyle that characterized Africa is being threatened and the quest for a detailed explanation of the eventualities of these threats is daily on the lips of residents.
Nigeria with a population of over 180 million people has actually earned its ranking as the most populous black nation, and as a case study is a significant impact metrics of the damning consequences of climate change. The devastating results of Flash Flooding in times past and which even now ravage the entire nation, is no longer news. According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), In the last half of the year 2012, 363 people were killed and over 2.1 million people displaced, 30 out of Nigeria’s 36 states was affected. It was estimated that the losses and destructions associated with the floods were worth about N2.6 trillion. These floods have led to a drastic decline in crop yields and livestock productivity, as they are most times lethal, especially in densely populated city shanties or even rural areas, where there is a lack of good drainage systems.
Huge stretches of inland waters in parts of the country, are now facing environmental devastation owning to pollution as half the population is denied access to clean water due to human activities that border on climate change. It is therefore imperative to put strategic financial investment in place in mitigating and adapting climate change in Nigeria. Perhaps, more worrisome is the expansive finance necessary to do so, which have resulted in quite a number of finance models – climate finance strategies to address climate change issues on the local and national scale.
As widely reported in the media, the figures budgeted for Solar Street lights installation and Solar powered water pumps in the 2017 budget are quite impressive, and grassroot communities that depend majorly on burning wood for cooking, can now access Green Stoves. Also, an innovation that allows for commercial distribution of biofuels to women in rural neighborhoods as championed by representatives of such constituencies in the legislative arm of government; although still grossly inadequate has been a relatively good step in the right direction. With the country’s newly discovered love for renewable energy, which has led the government into exploring Solar and Wind energy in the Northern part of the country, It is believed that if explored in commercial capacities this two energy sources can further give a boost to the struggling power sector of the nation.
On attempts to control pollution, though there is still no concrete implementation of carbon pricing laws in Nigeria, the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) recently took a huge step at ensuring big polluters in areas of industrialized cities like Lagos State, Nigeria pay more in areas of tax to buffer projects aimed at mitigating environmental degradation, however with the recent focus of the government on Green Bonds, it is imperative that in the nearest future a proper legislation be made, and laws enacted to drive the quest for proper carbon trading schemes. Worthy of note, is also the fact that the involvement of the private sector in the pursuit of a sustainable climate finance, as a lot of big spenders in the manufacturing sector are giving a positive nod to the long-anticipated Environment Green Bonds, aimed at enabling capital-raising and investment for new and existing projects with environmental benefits. This is a step in the right direction as it shows Nigeria’s commitment and allegiance to the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in staring down the damning impact of climate change.
It is also commendable that at a time when some very important stakeholders like the United States are pulling out of the Paris agreement, Nigeria is further strengthening national policies to sustain the pact by localizing climate actions, this is relatively important in sustaining the fight against climate change and mitigating its threats as we adapt as a nation.
Another very commendable initiative subscribed to by Nigeria is the Great Green Wall Programme conceived to address desertification and land degradation, strengthen food security and help communities adapt to climate change in the Sahel-Sahara region of Africa. This program is aimed at sound ecosystem management, sustainable development of land resources, protection of rural heritage and improvement of the living conditions of the indigenous populations.
This discuss wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Ogoni Clean Up Project, which on June 2nd, 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria represented by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, in Bodo Rivers State, launched the clean-up project of Ogoniland. However, over a year later, major activities are yet to resume and this has raised the question of sincerity on the part of the government as the usually restive Niger delta region has experienced commendable calm in the past months. Government bureaucracies of involved institutions of government have been blamed for the slag, and the hopes of gainful employments of young people in the communities dashed. In other areas, the procurement of vast funds earmarked for projects like Power Generation, Infrastructural development and other government social contracts have seen the hydra head of corruption take a large chunk of the resources, leaving nothing to make these projects a reality. Despite the gains accomplished in some aspects as a nation, there are still a lot of grounds to cover in areas of implementing climate finance. We must come to an understanding of the ancient Indian adage which says “we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrowed it from our children” If we will go all the way to rescue the unborn generation from the consequences of our own human activities directly responsible for climate change, we should as a matter of urgency and national responsibility set in motion pro-active and serious measures of sustainable climate financing that are targeted at encouraging local climate actions with prospects of global impacts.
Amusa Temitope Victor is an Environmentalist, Social Entrepreneur and Zero-Waste Advocate. He is the Chief Executive Officer, Vicfold Recyclers- A Recycling Firm based in Ilorin Kwara State Nigeria, which Promotes Incentive Motivated Recycling. (www.vicfoldrecyclers.com). He can be reached on +2348094865401 or firstname.lastname@example.org