Thursday, April 18, 2024

53 million Nigerians at risk of flooding, environmental expert warn

The expert, who is also a visiting professor at Oxford University, urged the government to action many of its ‘fascinating’ climate policies.

• August 7, 2022
Flood in Nasarawa
A flooded environment used to illustrate the story

A climate expert, Chuwumerije Okereke, says with the rise in sea level, an estimated 27 to 53 million people in the country might need to be relocated with a 0.5m increase in sea levels.

Mr Okereke, a professor and director of the Centre for Climate Change and Development at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ebonyi State, said flooding is already affecting 25 million people in Nigeria.

Coastal settlements like Bonny, Forcados, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Warri and Calabar were at risk with vast amounts of oil infrastructure, according to Mr Okereke.

“In Yenagoa, there are 302,782 people estimated to be exposed to high flood risk along the Niger-Benue basin in the Niger Delta area with 630km of land susceptible to flooding.

“In Lagos, 375,000 people are exposed to flooding; the number will increase to about 3.2 million people by 2050.

“The direct estimate of damage and loss is N1.48 trillion. The total damage and loss, including indirect ones due to flooding is about N2.6 trillion,” Mr Okereke said.

The environmental expert says climate change will cost Nigeria $460 billion by 2050, if action is not taken to mitigate its effects.

”Climate change is costing Nigeria already $100 billion per annum. And that this amount will rise to about $460 billion per annum by 2050.

“And this represents a huge amount of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“From 2020 till now, climate change is already costing N15 trillion, representing two to 11 per cent of the GDP, by 2050 climate change will be costing N69 trillion, representing six to 30 per cent of the GDP,” he said.

The expert, who is also a visiting professor at Oxford University, urged the government to action many of its ‘fascinating’ climate policies.

“So, we have a situation where we have a lot of various policies, documents, but very limited action on the ground and this worries me because I have been shouting that climate change poses an existential threat to Nigeria,” Mr Okereke said.

“We need to inject a lot of finance and a lot of action to stem the problem of climate change.”


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