The twin-issues of climate change and global warming have attained global dimensions
evident by their recurrent discussions at the UN General Assembly, the Bali,
Kyoto and other International Meetings. Global climate change driven largely
by anthropogenic activities is a growing threat to human well-being in developing
and industrialized nations alike leading to a conclusion that significant harm
from climate change is already occurring, and further damages are likely (Gwary,
2008). Climate change is a phenomenon with far reaching effects on people
and the nation Nigeria is particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change
in many fronts considering its geography, climate, vegetation, soils, economic
structure, population and settlement, energy demands and agricultural activities.
Events like sea level rise, flooding, erosion, etc are some of the effects of
climate change already manifest in Nigeria. One prediction indicates that Nigeria
stands to lose up to US$ 19 billion as a result of catastrophe while at least,
80% of the inhabitants of the Niger Delta are likely to face displacement (Ihedioha,
2003). The location and size of and the characteristic relief in Nigeria
had given rise to a variety of climatic characteristics. The climatic zones
range from the tropical rainforest zone along the coast to the Sahel savannah
in the Northern parts of the country. Nigeria has a population of about 140
million impacting on the physical environment through various activities within
an area of 923,000 km2. Climate change leads to a shift in the boundaries
of major ecological zones which results in the heightening of drought and desertification
in the marginal arid zones of the country. It also aggravates soil erosion and
flooding in areas of higher rainfall and salt water intrusion along the coastal
belt. Climate change also alters animal and plant composition in different regions
(Gworgwor, 2008). The issue of climate change in Nigeria
is therefore a major challenge to development and poverty reduction efforts.
This is because such strategies often overlook climate change risk.
ENVIRONMENTAL EMERGENCIES IN NIGERIA: AN OVERVIEW OF VULNERABILITY
Emergency situations arising from disasters-natural and human-made in Nigeria
are common and vary in space, time and magnitude. The natural phenomena include
tropical storms, land erosion, windstorms, floods, drought, desertification,
human diseases, coastal erosion, livestock diseases, crop pests and diseases,
wildfire, harmattan haze and landslides. The major human-made hazards include
civil strife; road, water and air traffic accidents and technological hazards
such as oil spills, hazardous wastes dumping and industrial accidents as well
as structure collapses. The Nigerian Red Cross Society estimates that almost
280,000 Nigerians were affected by various types of disasters in 2001, many
of them resulting in serious fatalities (Orebiyi, 2002).
A closer analysis of what transforms a natural event into a human and economic
disaster reveals that the fundamental problems of development that Nigeria just
as in other developing countries, face are the very same problems that contribute
to its vulnerability to the catastrophic effects of natural hazards.
The vulnerability to climate change and its associated impacts in developing
countries is caused and/or aggravated by several household community level and
institutional factors. At the household level, the income generating activities
are not diversified and are often characterized by heavy reliance on the biophysical
environment. Thus with a magnitude alteration in the equilibrium of the biophysical
parameters, the impacts re-vibrate in the livelihoods systems of many households.
In Nigeria, a significant proportion engages in such activities as farming,
fishing, livestock rearing and forestry. There are no deliberate institutional
arrangements to provide cushion for households and individuals when disasters
strike. This also borders on the clear absence of social safety nets like social
security, unemployment allowances, etc. All these increases the vulnerable groups
and the group can become large depending on the nature and severity of disaster.
The dimension of vulnerability in developing countries that is often emphasized
is the vulnerability of the poorest because of their already extremely low security
and few options for income generating activities (Ulstrud
et al., 2008). A disaster event like rainstorm and flood produces
devastating effects on livelihood systems of people. During such events, farmlands
and homes are destroyed. A typical victim is not just a victim of farmland erosion
and flood, the victims home is also blown off, the wall shattered and
the local workshop destroyed. Thus, for a spell, the typical victim is carrying
heavy burden of vulnerability due to climate change related stressors. During
such multiple vulnerability situations what are the institutional intervention
options available and how effective is the available response system? The multiple
vulnerability of a victim is clearer and worse in case of a woman who is landless
and not entitled to compensation. The case study of the Fadama women farmers
in Ilorin is used to illustrate this more clearly. The vulnerability to frequent
environmental emergencies in Nigeria is determined by two major variables: the
vulnerability of the elements at risk contained within them. That is the ability
of the built physical environment of buildings, site improvements and infrastructure
in them to withstand the stress imposed by natural hazards. The hazards of their
locations. This indicates the extent to which people are exposed to environmental
emergencies as a result of the circumstances of their location. Furthermore,
the roots of the urban vulnerability in Nigeria are human beings and their actions.
For example, the urban population in the country has been growing at the rate
of between 2-5% per year since the 1990s (Olokesusi, 2004).
Overall, the growth is adding several thousands of people each year to cities
and towns of the estimated total population of over 140 million. About 45% reside
in urban centers with highest concentration in the large metropolitan areas
like Lagos, Ibadan, Kano and Port-Harcourt. The environmental problems associated
with uncontrolled expansion and poor management has increased the vulnerability
of these cities to major disasters.
Large contingent of low-income migrants have settled on the poorest most vulnerable land in cheap, dilapidated and over-crowded houses constructed on land subject to floods and landslides. Poverty and lack of innovative approaches to urban management contribute to acute shortage of social infrastructure services in the urban areas in general and in the low-income neighbourhoods in particular. The combination of physical development on unsuitable lands such as wetlands, slopes, flood plains and other environmentally sensitive areas and over-crowding, all exacerbate environmental degradation and vulnerability to environmental and anthropogenic hazards. Blocked drainage channels in urban areas worsen the externalities associated with flooding. The rural condition is not in any way better. Little wonder then the rampart incidences of flooding in major cities like Ibadan, Abuja, Benin City, Port Harcourt and in the rural areas too. Flooding incidences in rural areas is becoming increasingly worrisome because of the large loss of crops and agricultural land associated with them.
Nigeria is thus a disaster-prone country. In 2000/2001, >200,000 people
were displaced by anthropogenic and environmental emergencies. These included
>1,000 deaths. Several homes, farm crops, fishing sites and businesses were
destroyed. In the flood disaster events in Kirfi local government area in Bauchi
state, >11,000 were displaced while 500 were displaced in Osun state (Orebiyi,
Flooding is a widespread environmental emergency in the country affecting all
the coastal states and even upland states like Bauchi, Sokoto, Niger and Kwara.
The situation is worsened by the degradation of the countrys environment
and natural resources.
|| Highlights and spatial distribution of major disasters in
|| Summary of various disasters reported and its damages in
|Researchers compilation from newspaper sources, Olokesusi,
(2004) and from; NEMAs Website (www.nema.org.ng)
In the Sudano-Sahelian states of Kano, Niger Bauchi and Sokoto, the situation
is precarious due to sparse vegetation hence, any unusually heavy rainfall results
in severe floods and soil erosion (Olorunfemi et al.,
2009). Available literature shows the existence of spatial differences in
the nature of disasters in Nigeria. As shown in Table 1 while
oil and gas pollution is largely a Niger Delta problem, drought and quella birds
infestation occur in the Sudano-Sahelian states (e.g., Kano, Sokoto, Katsina,
Borno and Yobe). However, soil erosion, rainstorm and flood disasters are prevalent
in virtually all the states. The information shown in Table 1
shows that more than two thirds of disasters in all states of Nigeria are weather
related. A chronology of major disasters in Nigeria since year 2001 is also
shown in Table 2.
The results in Table 2 reveals that the frequency and intensity of disasters have increased considerably in recent years.
DISASTER IN URBAN NIGERIA: A CASE STUDY
The report by O Brien et al. (2008) raised
and addressed several interrelated questions using a developed country lens.
In this section, we try to illustrate how a climate change event can generate
multiple and interacting stressors, thereby aggravating the vulnerability of
poor people. Secondly, also examine the adequacy or otherwise of available response
THE STUDY SETTING AND METHODS
The study setting is Ilorin; the administrative and political headquarter of
Kwara state (Fig. 1). It is one of the fastest growing urban
centres in Nigeria located on latitude 8°30N and longitude 4°35E.
The mean annual temperature is about 26.80°C with 5 h average daily sunshine.
The mean annual rainfall is about 125 mm. The dormant streams are Asa, Aluko,
Okun, Amule and Agba. As shown in Fig. 2, the rainfall peaked
in 2004 with 1600.23 mm leading to the over flowing of these streams. The rainfall
recorded in 2004 was the highest except for 1997 when rainfall reached 1704.13
mm. The vegetation, in most parts is guinea savanna interspersed by trees of
different species. The situation of the city between the dry North and the wet
South of Nigeria gave Ilorin the apt description as the gate way between the
North and the South of the country. The climate is therefore tropical wet and
dry characterized by a distinct wet and dry seasons.
The growth of the city both physically and in terms of the population have
been documented by other researchers (Olorunfemi et al.,
2009). Evidences from these study attest to the rapid and continuous growth
in size and strength from the colonial period as a provincial headquarters to
1976 as a state headquarter. A major aspect of the population of Ilorin is its
ethnic plurality. It contains about 766,000 inhabitants by the year 2006 at
a growth rate of 2.84% annually.
The factors of urbanization and development of the modern commercial/industrial economy as well as the multiplier effects of these had produced a typically dynamic population within the city.
The metropolis is divided into 20 traditional wards for the purpose of political administration in the city. It is important to note that the above locational and physiographic characteristics possess (sometimes significant) implications for human health on one hand and economic and social development on the other. Ilorin is a typical traditional African city whose urban history predates colonialism in Nigeria.
The city therefore, falls into the category of third world cities described
as reputed for their dualistic internal structure.
|| Map of Kwara state showing the study area
|| Rainfall intensity in Ilorin Metropolis (1996-2006)
|| Socio-economic characteristics of women fadama farmers in
The data used in this study was collected during a survey of 120 women farmers
along three streams in Ilorin metropolis. The women comprised of urban itinerant
farmers who cultivate river banks with vegetables during dry seasons and onset
of rains. Structured questionnaire was administered to the women on their experience
during the flood event of the previous year. The socioeconomic characteristics
of the women are as shown in Table 3.
As shown in Table 3, majority of the women farmers were in the age bracket 20-45 years as this age group together formed 56.6% of the total respondents in the survey. Majority of the women were also married with 62.5%. Some 21 (17.5%) and 10 (8.4%) women were either divorcees or widows. Some of these socio-economic characteristics indicate the peculiar needs of the respondents not as only as women but also as either aged or single women who require social supports and safety nets. Moreover, the survey also sought to know the cost of land acquisition by the women. Only 14% of the women owned the land on which their farms were personally while in 23.35 of the respondents, the land was owned by their husbands. The land was rented at various monthly or annual costs by 53 women (44.2%). About 18% of the respondents claimed that they only obtained the permission of the land owners pending the time the owner would be ready to use the land. The implication of some of these land acquisition processes is that in most cases, there is absolute lack of security of tenure for the use of land by the women as land owners do not need any long notice before ejecting the women from the land.
RAINSTORM AND FLOODING: THE MULTIPLE IMPACT OF SINGLE EVENT
Rivers Asa, Amule, Aluko are among the major streams on which women carry out their farming activities particularly during dry seasons. Cultivation is deliberately planned to coincide with the dry season and harvesting is done usually before the onset of the rain or at most before the first two rains. During the early rains of 2006, 47 respondents (39.2%) lost farmlands estimated to be up to three-quarters of the total farm cultivated during the period. Indeed about 23% of the women lost the whole farmland they cultivated during the period. Moreover, 51 women or 42.5% indicated that their houses were also affected. Hence, this group of women lost both the farm and their homes were also devastated by the rainstorm that accompanied the rain. The intervention by government agents being the only institution that intervened included the distribution of relief materials to the victims. This included mainly building materials and some household items. Only 19 women or about 16% of the sampled women indicated that they received any for of relief material.
INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR DISASTER MANAGEMENT AND FUNDING IN NIGERIA
The local chapter of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) was the
agency saddled with the responsibility for the distribution of the relief materials.
In response to the upsurge in disasters, the Federal Government of Nigeria through,
Decree No. 12 of 1999, established the National Emergency Management Agency
(NEMA) as the apex public sector agency for emergency management. This legal
instrument was fashioned after the United States Emergency Management Agency
(USNEMA) law. The enabling legislation contains concepts like co-ordinate, liaise,
monitor and collect, etc. which presupposes that NEMA is a co-ordinating agency.
Yet, the Director-General of the agency in his welcome address to a conference
on emergency management noted that the management of emergency no matter how
small is the agencys responsibility.
||Revenue allocation to the eological fund: 1998-2006
| *1 US$ currently exchanges for 147 Naira; Central Bank of
Nigeria; Statistical Bulletin Dec. 2003; CBN Annual Reports and Statement
of Accounts for 2003-2006
This raises the fundamental question on which other units should be liaising
with or coordinating. Although, Nigeria has signed up to the United Nations
Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) and is widely recognized to
be vulnerable to climate change (Olokesusi, 2004) much
still needs to be done to develop local awareness, knowledge and expertise.
Whereas NEMA is structurally incapacitated, the situation is worse at the state
and local levels. Although, the 1999 NEMA Decree directs each state to have
a fully equipped emergency management agency, this has not been realized. Furthermore,
a National Disaster Response Plan was prepared about 3 years ago, it has not
been put to use. It is however, quite heartening that the Nigeriasat-1 (satellite)
is now gathering data on environmental conditions and resources what is of utmost
concern is the application of such data for participatory and sustainable environmental
Funding of disaster management programmes is presently a major responsibility
of the Federal Government. The primary source of financing NEMA and its activities
is a proportion of the ecological fund (Table 4) (a certain
proportion of oil revenue set aside to tackle environmental problems and emergencies).
Between 1998 and 2004, about 82
billion accrued to this fund from which NEMA received its annual capital and
recurrent budgetary allocations (Table 3). Despite the Supreme
Court judgement on the constitutionality or otherwise of the special fund, deductions
from the federation account, other tiers of government have not shown appreciable
commitment towards disaster mitigation. Although, it is true that under the
current revenue allocation system, the lions share goes to the Federal
Government, it is an inalienable fact that disasters occur and could re-occur
in all states of the federation with their attendant adverse economic, political,
environmental and social impacts. Moreover, the entire pool of funds in the
Federation Account and the proportion allocated to each tier of government are
all subject to the vagaries of oil pricing in the global market. This because
Nigeria depends largely on oil revenue the price of which is not stable in the
international oil market. Therefore, for a country striving strenuously to avoid
these significantly debilitating negative externalities, comprehensive disaster
mitigation financing policy and programme become imperative.
Another important effort aimed at tackling natural disasters in Nigeria by the Federal Government is the production of eco-climatic atlas map. The Federal Government has invested N100 million ($769230.77) in the production of eco-climatic maps to help in the monitoring of natural disasters in all the states of the federation.
The growing trend of disasters in Nigeria has implications for national sustainability. This is because disasters, irrespective of the causal factors are associated with diverse externalities such as mortalities, loss of income, home, farmlands, social networks, livelihoods and infrastructure.
The climate change and variability are likely to worsen the prospects for poverty eradication unless action is taken to become response-capable. This requires a focus on reducing vulnerability, achieving equitable growth and improving the governance and institutional context in which poor people live.
In effect, the existing poverty reduction strategies are continuously challenged
by climate change which often time deepens poverty. The country lacks capacity
to anticipate and respond to climate change and variability related risk (Gwary,
2008; Kumuyi et al., 2008). There is no adequate
information on seasonal forecast of climate variability to enable preparedness
to climate related disaster and thus early warning facilities are grossly underutilized.
Strategies to reduce vulnerability should be rooted in vulnerability analysis and greater understanding of both household-level and macro response options that are available to decrease the poors exposure to climate risk. Increasing the response-capability of Nigeria will require information on seasonal forecast to enable the preparedness to climate variability as well as longer term climate prediction data to ensure that strategies to reduce vulnerability also reflect the underlying longer-term climate trends.