The Federal Government has been urged to immediately and directly intervene in the grassroots and other communities affected by the recent flooding and to also take preventive measures for the 13 states recently listed by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) as flood prone.
The ActionAid Nigeria (AAN), Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON), Activista Youth Platform, Fresh and Young Brains Initiative (FBIN); and Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth (ERAFoEN) made the call on Thursday in Abuja.
The event was part of activities marking the Global Climate Strike to call for urgent action for victims of climate change and other natural disasters in the country.
The Country Director of AAN, Ms. Ene Obi, who briefed newsmen on behalf of others said that in the cause of their work in communities across Nigeria, they have seen first-hand the realities of climate change.
According to her, in recent years, Nigeria has experienced more frequent weather extremes, sometimes seeing droughts one year and floods the next, rainy seasons arriving early, or late, or are far shorter than usual.
“We are here today, with support from ActionAid International, to call on the Nigerian government to take urgent and immediate action to ensure that all aspects of the lives of an average Nigerian is climate-proofed. Around the world and in Nigeria, communities are dealing with the realities of the climate emergency.
“Climate impacts such as droughts, floods, cyclones, rising sea levels, crop losses and loss of livelihoods are wreaking havoc, wrecking lives, driving up poverty and rolling back the rights of women and children.
“Amid these terrifying realities, a major scientific report released last year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) showed that there is very little doubt that the whole planet is steadily warming, and that Africa is on the front line of climate change.
“The good news however, is that if governments across the globe, particularly Nigeria begin to act now, they can help lessen the harm that extreme weather can wreak on communities,” Obi said.
She said the planet is heating up even more quickly than expected, meaning that far more severe impacts and climate disasters are just around the corner.
She therefore urged the Federal Government to protect citizens from the impacts of climate change, by ensuring that the national policies and plans to strengthen adaptation and response to climate emergencies are urgently implemented.
“Ensure that the human rights of climate-displaced communities are protected by law from local to national levels and that climate-displaced communities are supported to rebuild their lives; guarantee women and indigenous peoples’ land rights and ensure that traditional knowledge is recognised as key to climate solutions, alongside agriculture that works with nature instead of against it,” she noted.