By Audu Liberty Oseni
Having seen the impacts of climate change on rural farmers and rural settlements, we appeal to climate researchers and environmental activists to raise their voices in pushing advocacy and campaigns for climate justice and resilience actions.
The campaign is most fundamental because we have seen climate change becoming a major threat facing rural farmers in Nigeria. Addressing it will be a major milestone in curbing food security and eliminating hunger.
Across rural communities in Nigeria especially the northern zone, we have seen how farmers are becoming vulnerable to climate change. Farmers in Gombe, Yobe, Sokoto, Jigawa, and Abuja just to mention five among many, are facing poverty and starvation.
For instance, rural farmers in Yobe and Abuja, are facing poor harvests while a good number of them are struggling to grow food crops. A situation they attribute to a shortage in rainfall that is a consequence of Climate Change.
In another narrative, FCT-Abuja community farmers who spoke to MAWA-Foundation pointed out how soils are drying rapidly as a result of high temperatures. The farmers say apart from a shortage of rainfall, pests and diseases are invading their farms on a large scale, contributing to poor yields and harvests. They also pointed out that raising livestock is becoming increasingly difficult, mainly because fodder and pasture for livestock are becoming harder to find as a result of dry weather conditions. In a rural community like Kanzo, in Kuje Area Council of FCT-Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, farmers say excess hot weather condition is drying up their source of water, and exposing them to more dangerous conditions.
Corroborating this claim, a report by Aljazeera shows how rural farmers at Toshia community in Yunusari Local Government Area of Yobe state, northeast Nigeria are suffering Climate Change impacts.
Having seen Climate Change in rural communities in Nigeria, there is an urgent need for increased public financing targeted at climate change solutions. And, in doing that, all three tiers of governments, from the federal to local governments, must have a functional approach with tree planting as a core, targeted at addressing climate justice.
We are aware that past efforts by the government such as the African Union’s Great Green Wall initiative targeted at Climate Change mitigation and adaptation failed as a result of no community involvement in the design and implementation.
We appeal that in designing climate justice initiatives, community engagement using the Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) approach, must be prioritized. This will enable communities the initiatives are meant to serve to get connected to them and own the process by ensuring they succeed and remarkable impacts are recorded.
Audu Liberty Oseni is Foundation Coordinator, Media Advocacy West Africa
MAWA – Foundation Coordinator,