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Nigeria loses N15tr yearly to climate change, says don

By Monday Osayande, Asaba
07 April 2022   |   4:02 am
University teacher, Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, has said Nigeria loses about N15 trillion yearly to impact of climate change. He expressed fears that the amount might increase to N69 trillion by 2050.

AFP PHOTO / Thomas B. Shea / With AFP Story by Kerry SHERDAN

University teacher, Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, has said Nigeria loses about N15 trillion yearly to impact of climate change. He expressed fears that the amount might increase to N69 trillion by 2050.

The don, who disclosed that it was an analysis done by DFID, said 302,782 million Nigerians were exposed to high flood risk, with 630 km2 of land also susceptible to flooding along the Niger-Benue basin in the Niger Delta area of the country.

Okereke, Director, Centre for Climate Change and Development, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike (AEFUNAI), Anambra State, while lamenting the grave risks climate change pose to human and planetary health, food security, water supply and human security, said over 25 million Nigerians were at risk of flooding, with Lagos alone having 357,000 people that are exposed to it and by 2050 the number would be about 3.2 million.

He made the declarations in a keynote address on “Just Energy Transition for Oil and Gas Workers Social Welfare and Security,” delivered at the 5th Quadrennial Delegates Conference, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG in Asaba, Delta State.

The don hinted that many of the risks posed by climate change were already manifesting with devastating consequences for countries and communities around the world, Nigeria inclusive.

According to him, extreme weather occurrences like cyclone, intense flooding, sea-level rise, heavy precipitation, drought, heat waves, wild fires, and loss of biological diversity are all unfriendly.

He declared that global warming is shifting the ranges of many marine species to higher latitudes as well as increasing the amount of damage to many ecosystems, which, to a large extent “is driving the loss of coastal resources and reducing the productivity of fisheries and aquaculture, especially at low latitudes.”

“Impacts of climate change in the ocean are increasing risks to fisheries and aquaculture via impacts on the physiology, habitat, reproduction, disease incidence, and risk of invasive species,” he said.

Okereke predicted that by 2100, two billion people – about one-fifth of the world’s population – could become climate change refugees due to rising ocean levels, noting that the populations are at disproportionately higher risk of adverse consequences with global warming on disadvantaged and vulnerable populations, some indigenous peoples and local communities, who depend on agricultural or coastal livelihood.

He said as a coastal country, Nigeria is also at the risk of sea-level rise and costal inundation, stressing the about 3,400 km2 in the coastal regions of Nigeria has already been inundated at current 0.2m sea level rise.

“This number,” according to him, “is estimated to be 18,400 km2 under 1m sea-level rise scenario. An estimated 27 to 53 million people in the country may need to be relocated with a 0.5 m increase in sea level,” he said, adding that “coastal settlements like Bonny, Forcados, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Warri, Sapele, Oron, Ilaje in Ondo and Calabar are all at risk to climate-change induced sea level rise.”

“Climate change is also wreaking havoc on our agriculture and food security with severe droughts affecting the productivity of all the major crops in the land, including rice, sorghum, maize, cassava, millet. Some climate modelling work has shown that there could be a loss of up to 50 per cent production of these staple food by 2050 due to climate change.

“The impact of such a loss on food security and livelihood is staggering especially if one considers that 70 per cent of Nigeria’s population are engaged directly and indirectly in various agricultural activities and that agriculture accounts for 21-26 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP. Climate change is also exacerbating the security challenges of Nigeria,” he stated.

He attributed the drying of Lake Chad, the rapid desertification of the north, hunger and poverty resulting from crop failure, and the displacement arising from flooding as responsible for the worsening security challenges faced in Nigeria today.