Nigeria Metrological Agency, NIMET, recently warned that there will be gross reduction in rainfall across the country this year. The implication of this on the farming population and food production capacity of farmers is obvious. NIMET led by Dr. Kingsley Anuforo as Director-General is known for accuracy of predictions. In the recent past, the agency predicted and warned Nigerians especially those living on the river banks of flooding. Few people believed them, heed the warning and saved their lives and properties. Others ignored the warning signals and paid the supreme price while thousands lost millions of Naira worth of property.
Indeed, persistent droughts and flooding, off season rains and dry spells have sent growing seasons out of orbit, on a country dependent on a rain fed agriculture. Alarm bells are ringing with lakes drying up and a reduction in river flow in the arid and semi arid region. The result is fewer water supplies for use in agriculture, hydro power generation and other users. The main suspect for all this havoc is Climate Change. Scientific studies show snows are disappearing rapidly. Climate Change has been confirmed following release of the 4th IPCC Assessment report. Africa will be worst hit by the effects of Climate Change which Nigeria is part of it.
The agricultural sector contributes some percentage of the Nigerian Gross National Product and majority of the rural populace are employed in this sector. The dominant role of agriculture makes it obvious that even minor climate deteriorations can cause devastating socioeconomic consequences. Policies to curb the climate change by reducing the consumption of fossil fuels like oil, gas or carbon, have significant economical impacts on the producers or rather the suppliers of these fuels. Nigeria is the eighth largest oil supplier in the world and the ninth largest deposits of gas. Our national economy would be massively affected by a sustainable reduction of fossil energy consumption. Nigeria is practically a monoculture: about 80% of the government income, 90-95% of the export earnings and more than 90% of the foreign exchange revenues evolve from the oil sector. However, during the last years federal government tried to diversify. Special attention is now paid to gas which emerges in the joint-production of oil. So far the gas has mainly been flared (75%), simply due to the lack of technical facilities to make use of it.
In the arid zones, droughts are getting worse and climate uncertainty is growing, Climate change is an unprecedented and threat to food security. Arid and semi-arid areas in northern Nigeria are becoming drier, while the southern part of the country are getting wetter, Global warming means that many dry areas are going to get drier and wet areas are going to get wetter. They are going to be caught between the devil of drought and the deep blue seas of floods. A better planning to reduce the risk from disasters, together with developing agricultural practices that can withstand changing climates, have been shown to work and could help mitigate the impact if use more widely.
Something urgent needs to be done about global warming and climate change. First, we must come up with a mechanism for tackling climate change and global warming, the idea of using Carbon Sinks to soak up carbon dioxide. For instance reforestation or planting of new forests, this is a popular strategy for the logging industry and nations with large forests interests like Nigeria. Negative impacts of climate change such as temperature rise, erratic rainfall, sand storms, desertification, low agricultural yield; drying up of water bodies and flooding are real in the desert prone eleven front line states of Nigeria. Environmental degradation and attendant desertification are major threats to the livelihoods of the inhabitants of the frontline states of Nigeria. This leads to increasing population pressure, intensive agricultural land use, overgrazing, bush burning, extraction of fuel wood and other biotic resources. Women and children are particularly the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Climate change is really of great concern to our Nation. Government and indeed all Nigerians must ensure we overcome this impending danger that has the potential to affect our means of livelihood.


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