‘Climate change’ not major factor in erosion

Image copyright : Newscore Image caption Pastoralists in many states depend on erosion for grazing

The destruction of farmlands in the rainy season has been attributed to a number of environmental conditions, including climate change.

For decades, farmers in some parts of Nigeria have complained of erosion in their farmlands, especially in central states and Nigeria’s oil producing Niger Delta.

They say that the destruction of their farmlands is resulting in a fall in their farming productivity.

And a study conducted by the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) revealed that around half of children in the nation suffer from waterborne diseases due to the effects of flooding.

Rainfall and flooding in recent years have been documented to cause at least 10 million tons of waste water to flood urban areas every year, and are also known to generate industrial fumes.

The NDHS report also shows that both rural and urban residents are reluctant to use sinks for hand washing due to unsanitary conditions caused by flooding in built-up areas.

It states that around 46% of Nigerians with lower incomes and 11% of Nigerians with higher incomes are aware of the risks of flooding in their houses and settlements.

‘Cannot be stop

On Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari addressed the issue of the erosion crisis and the landslide that killed dozens of people in Katsina in September.

During the speech he said the government “cannot, at this time, stop population growth in the North”.

Some have suggested that climate change is the cause of the crisis and that awareness campaigns cannot encourage people to fix their houses properly or stop them from building them.

But others have suggested that it is a mixture of climate change and other environmental conditions.

Image copyright : Splash News Image caption Live animals are killed as animals run away from flood waters

In response to the address, ecological engineer Kehinde Obe noted that “it is not climate change alone that is causing the destruction of farmlands. Lagos is just a part of the problem. The vast expanses of Kosoko in the West have been overgrown over the years by invasives such as shrubs, trees and bushes.”

He added that it “also has to do with the human environment which is what the NDHS report tends to suggest about the human determinants of deforestation and the result being erosion”.

Disagreement on the causes

Eradication of human activities such as logging and farming has already been established to be one of the principal reasons for the problem.

The Federal Ministry of Environment, which began working on some common solutions to the problem, has cited efforts to preserve natural landscapes, stream segregation, land use and regulatory measures to restore in the rainforests.

But not all Nigerians believe that climate change is the main factor behind the erosion disaster.

“I think that climate change, at least in this country, has played a little part,” said a farmer from Onaigbongbo, Abia State.

Image copyright : EPA Image caption Floodwater fills the streets of Lagos after a storm

“The weather phenomenon, which we experienced most recently on that occasion, is non climate change but we were not prepared for the rain and the collapse of our roots.”

The managing director of a humanitarian organisation, Jaiyeola Asifetoye, said a number of groups including ecologists, flood specialists and policy makers have been trying to create mechanisms for the resolution of the issue.

“It is common knowledge that there is climate change affecting the world which definitely has some effects on Nigeria. Now that we have the flood crisis – it is something we should address holistically as a nation.”

She added that the likelihood of climate change reducing rainfall in some parts of the country is an illusion.

Image copyright : Splash News Image caption No one was injured as cows surrounded a building and ran off

“The condition of the people that would have survived the phenomenon, would they have done it whether climate change or not. It’s true in some areas, but there is nothing that can be done if there is no rain,” she added.

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