Nigeria : desertification, drought, gully erosion, flooding (NGO News Africa / Afrique en Ligne)

Read at : NGO News Africa

Nigeria counts losses from climate change

Posted: 17 Dec 2009 08:51 PM PST

As the world meets to find ways of mitigating the impact of climate change, Nigeria, like other African nations which are at the receiving end of the effects of the global climate change, is counting its losses from the impact of the phenomenon. From desertification and drought in the north to gully erosion and flooding in the south, Nigerians are witnessing first hand the effects of climate change on their socio-economic life.

“Climate change has affected farming activities with loss of crops, farmlands and income as a result of either excessive rain which leads to flooding or harsh climatic condition,” an environmentalist and former President of the Nigerian Academy of Science, Prof. David Okali, told PANA here.

He said the nation’s economic nerve centre of Lagos, which is just by the Atlantic Ocean, is perhaps one of the areas that could be worst hit if there is any major rise in sea level.
”It (climate change) is threatening to wash away the whole of (highbrow Lagos neighbourhoods) Victoria Island and Ikoyi and Lekki Peninsula if there is a major sea level rise. What we need to do is to intensify all our efforts on mitigation and adaptation so that we don’t suffer too much,” he said.
The Nigerian government has spent several billions of Naira to control the ocean surge at the bar beach in Victoria Island, which is home to several high rise buildings serving as headquarters to multi-national corporations, financial hous es and oil companies, in addition to hosting residential quarters and foreign missions.
The South-eastern part of the country is also suffering from the devastating effects of gully erosion, which has washed away houses and farmlands.
Prof. Okali said the devastating effects of climate change had also caused extensive damage to the ecosystem in the northern part of the country, with desertification and drought making farming and other economic activities very di fficult.
He said the huge amount of financial resources needed to fight climate change was already causing great challenge to many developing countries, including Nigeria.
In a study conducted in July this year, environmentalists put the amount of funding needed to execute projects aimed at reducing the impact of climate change in Nigeria at about 52 trillion naira (US$1=150 naira).
“Nigeria cannot afford it due to other pressing needs. The first option is for the Industrialised and richer countries to raise funds or contribute to Nigeria and other developing countries to be able to cope.
“The other option is technology transfer, they can assist in building skills and providing necessary technology, this is what adaptation is all about,’ Okali said.
Meanwhile, as the United Nations Summit on climate change entered its last few days with little commitments by developing nations to hasten the deadline for reduction of gas emissions, Okali has advised Nigeria and other vulnerable devel oping countries to work together at developing strategies that will enable them collectively fight the effects of climate change on their socio-economic life.
While Africa is the least polluter, contributing only 3.6 per cent of harmful gas emissions, it suffers most from the devastating effects of climate change.
Experts said about two thirds of Africa’s land mass are devastated by drought occasioned by climate change, thereby making it more difficult for the continent to feed its massive population.

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Source: Afrique en ligne

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About Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.
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