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Solving Nigeria’s climate threats through innovative approaches

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A News Analysis By Cecilia Ologunagba, Nigeria News Agency

Abuja, Sept. 1, 2019 Raging flood waters have been violently ripping through many states of Nigeria and its Federal Capital Territory leading to loss of lives, displacement of people, destruction of property in billions on Naira.

Residents of the affected areas have also been exposed to impending cholera, diarrhea, malaria, skin infections and other water-borne diseases epidemic.

Besides flooding, there are also myriads of other challenges confronting the country, including farmers-herdsmen conflict arising largely from competition over land as a result of migration pattern caused by desert encroachment.

Analysts say the disasters and conflicts are proofs that the threat of climate change is a reality and has already caught up with us.

Climate Change, according to experts, is an environmental problem caused by anthropogenic activities such as burning of fossil fuels, land-use changes and deforestation, agricultural activities, industrial activities, waste and biomass burning.

Climate experts are of the view that combating the growing myriads of threats posed by climate change has changed from the usual passive approaches and now require innovative approaches to effectively combat the menace.

In line with the global thinking to solving the climate change, the Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with UN Development Programme recently organised a two-day Youth Climate Innovation Hub in the six geopolitical zones, simultaneously.

For the North-Central states of Plateau, Abuja, Nasarawa, Niger, Benue, Kwara and Kogi, selected 60 youths participated in the innovation hub held in Lafia, Nasarawa.

At the event, Mr Ayodeji Falemu, a Senior Scientific Officer, Department of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment urged the youths from the zone to come up with innovative ideas to address the menace of climate change.

The official said the purpose of the meeting was to establish Youth Regional Climate Change Innovation Hub in the zone that would serve as a platform for continuous interface for the young people.

He said it would also serve as platform for the Federal Government and development partners for the implementation of practical climate solutions.

“We will harvest and collate Innovative Ideas that will be showcased at the UN Climate Action Summit in September, 2019 by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The Summit will showcase ideas from youths who are actively taking climate action and leading innovative ideas in the area of climate change across Nigeria and beyond,’’ the official said.

According to him, the effort will further strengthen Nigeria’s position as a country-member of the United Nations’ Youth Engagement and Public Mobilisation Track at the UN Secretary General Climate Action Summit in September.

Falemu said 100 youths across the globe were expected to attend the UN youths meeting.

He said, before the UN Climate Summit, the outcome of the regional meeting from the six zones would produce youths that would showcase their innovations at the National hub.

Also speaking, Mr Seyifunmi Adebote, States Coordinator, International Climate Change Development Initiative (ICCDI), said the six groups from the zone were expected to come up with innovative ideas to address climate change in their states.

Adebote said the participants should look at the issues and problems relating with climate change in their states and come up with practical solutions.

“Some ideas can be scaled up which can be developed as priority and later serve as plan for Climatic change incubation hub for the zone,’’ he said.

In addition, he said their ideas would be looked into by the appropriate authorities.

“If the ideas are clear and the President is presenting it at such international Climate Action Summit, you can be sure that it will attract the attention of international donors.

“Also, you can be sure that Federal Government can adopt such projects and implement it to address climate change in the country,’’ he said.

According to him, the hub is facilitated by his organisation, ICCDI and two others – Talentplus Initiative and Health of Mother Earth Foundation- in the six geopolitical zones.

Meanwhile, some of the participants have identified some problems associated with climate change in the zone and come up with some innovative ideas and solutions to address them.

In the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for instance, improper dumping of waste, flooding and erosion as well as unsustainable water extraction were identified as some of the problems identified in the territory and some solutions were proffered.

Miracle Dikeyiaku said the FCT focal group came up with innovative ideas on centralised sewage disposal and centralised water distribution system to address the challenge of improper waste disposal.

“The group also came up with provision of climate smart agricultural extension; biogas and anerobic machines for waste management that would help to address the problem,’’ he said.

Similarly, the participants in Niger focal group identified waste management, flooding and desert deforestation as part of major challenges in the state.

Dan Akaniomo said the group emphasised on effective collaboration between private and the state government to address flooding and waste management.

In Plateau, migration pattern due to climate change was attributed for violent conflicts between farmers and herdsmen leading to loss of thousands of lives.

Rinmicit Temlong, a participant from the state said the group has proposed a technology called “hydroponic’’ to grow grass which could be harvested in 10 days.

“Also, to tackle the issue of food insecurity, we propose some technologies such as flash drying, freeze drying and near hold drying to address food wastage,’’ she said.

For Blessing Amajama from Benue, hydrotech would be a possible solution to address the problem of poor water while using invention of rice pod as firewood could serve as a way of reducing deforestation.

In addition, she said the group emphasised on advocacy of proper waste disposal and recycling of waste to generate wealth.

Batiqees Salaudeen from Kwara said the major problem in the state was waste mismanagement, adding that there were 40 unapproved dump sites in the state.

“We propose doing a documentary to sensitise the citizens to the dangers of indiscriminate dumping of waste and educate them on how to recycle their wastes to generate wealth,’’ she said.

At the closing of the hub, Mr Muyiwa Odele of UNDP, in a video call, said the agency believed on the roles of youths in addressing climate change, saying “you are our collective hope in having a better future.

“The hub has helped you to share your ideas and network; we will like to listen to you in future and partner with you to address climate change.

“The platform will be institutionalised for further collaboration, and I want to tell you that there is no winner or loser in the process.

“Hold on to your ideas as there will be opportunity to use them in future,’’ he said.

In all, the youths hoped that their innovative ideas would make it to the best three that will be presented at the National Hub in Abuja and eventually the outstanding one for presentation at the UN Secretary General Climate Action Summit in September.

Nevertheless, they appealed to the federal government and development partners not to sweep their innovative ideas and solutions under the carpet.

According to them, implementing their ideas will motivate them to come up with more practical solutions in addressing the climate change in the country. (Features)

**If used, please credit the writer as well as Nigeria News Agency

© 2019 NNN NEWS NIGERIA. EDITOR@NNN.COM.NG