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Floods: Expert wants more commitment to climate change mitigation

The Center for Climate Change and Development, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ebonyi, has urged the Federal Government to put climate change at the centre of its economic growth plan.

Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, the Director of the center, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos against the backdrop of recent flooding incidences in the country.

According to him, climate change is not just a simple marginal environmental problem; rather, it has wide scale economic impact.

The don stressed that there was the need for countries around the world and Nigeria to wake up to the significant economic consequences of climate change.

He urged the government to leverage climate change adaptation and mitigation to engender economic progress in the country.

“If the government is to stand a chance of succeeding in delivering economic growth in the country, it is important for it to pay attention to climate change.

“This is because the negative economic impact of climate change will likely derail the nation’s ability to sustain economic growth,’’ the don said.

He said that recent flooding in various parts of the country, including Lagos and Abuja, was at a huge cost to the nation in terms of human and property loss.

“These events bring to sharp attention and focus, the extent and scale of impact that climate change-induced weather patterns can cause.

“Scientists, including myself, have been calling attention to the wide-ranging impact of climate change around the world and especially in Nigeria.

“There is the need for countries around the world and Nigeria to wake up to the significant economic consequences of climate change,” Okereke said.

He recalled that the flooding event of 2012 had cost Nigeria trillions of Naira in damages, adding that more recent flooding events had also taken a lot of lives and caused immense damages to property.

“It is possible that the worst is not over yet.

“The metrological agency has warned that there will be a lot of flooding this year. More recently, the Cameroonian Government has warned that it will be opening up the dam because of large rainfall.

“This large rainfall in our view has to do with climate change.

“So, it is important that we begin to take proactive measures to respond to climate change and to increase our resilience,” Okereke said.

The don said that he recently called on the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) to take cognisance of the implications of climate change to the wellbeing and economic growth of the indigenes of their states.

He said that he had appealed to the NGF to adopt measures to increase the resilience of their states to climate change.

“Several states across the country still do not have any coherent climate change policy or action plan.

“It is time that they begin to do so, under a range of different measures that the national and state governments can put in place such as simple drainage systems, better city management and the clearing of drainage systems.

“All of these can help to limit the impact of flooding and the devastation that it causes to citizens,” Okereke said.

He emphasised the need for the government to put climate change at the centre of its economic growth plan.

The don added that the government needed to also engage robustly within the international community to draw down climate finance that was necessary to put in place series of measures to combat climate change in Nigeria. (NAN)

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