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Climate change fuels tensions in Nigeria

Op-Ed 2024-06-15, 10:07pm


Climate change impacts continue to fuel tensions and drive displacement in Nigeria. IOM-Jorge Galindo

14 June 2024 - Despite its huge potential, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, continues to grapple with a host of challenges which are impacting people’s lives and triggering conflict over key resources, a senior UN official in the country said on Friday.

Speaking to reporters at UN Headquarters in New York, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria Mohamed Malick Fall highlighted the worrying impact of climate change.

The country is witnessing climate-related shocks which are triggering displacement and driving conflict, he said, singling out clashes over dwindling resources between farmers and herdsmen.

This conflict is exacerbated by the climate crisis, which is forcing herding communities to leave their traditional lands in search of better grazing options.

Improvements in the northeast

The Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s northeast has been controlled to some extent, Mr. Fall reported, with the situation there showing signs of improvement.

That sentiment is reflected in a recent survey carried out by the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) looking at the aspirations of people displaced by conflict in the region.

Around 37 per cent taking part expressed a desire to return to their places of origin. Areas once worst affected by Boko Haram, such as Borno state, showed an even higher percentage willing to go back - two in three (67 per cent).

Similarly, about 38 per cent expressed the intention to stay in their current locations and integrate with local communities.

Primary factors influencing both groups include the reconstruction of homes destroyed in places of origin and the favourable security situation in areas where they have been displaced to, according to the IOM survey.

Inflation concerns

Mr. Fall further informed journalists of the Government’s efforts to institute economic reforms, such as through its “Renewed Hope” agenda which was launched last year.

Economists predict that inflation – a concern at present – could turn the corner and start falling by the end of the year.

“But in the meantime, we are seeing prices getting higher. Mainly food prices, which is impacting negatively on the possibility of people to access a decent life,” Mr. Fall said.

Two-track support

The Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator said the UN was aligning its operations with the Government’s priorities, taking a two-track approach.

One is the humanitarian response, helping save and improve lives of regular Nigerians, and reducing vulnerabilities.

The other, he added, is supporting efforts to spur development in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). – UN News