Governance a threat to Nigeria’s Climate

Reporting from Nigeria: Mercy Abang

The WIKIPEDIA encyclopedia, to choose a commonly accessible definition, defines good governance as an indeterminate term used in development literature to describe how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources in order to guarantee the realization of human rights.

[a] Governance describes “the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented)”.

[b] The term governance can apply to corporate, international, national, and local governance

[c] Or to the interactions between other sectors of society.

For the most part of Nigerian society as far as I can recall from 1999 when the democratic transition started, public institutions have failed in the management of public resources; therefore there has been absolutely no respect for human rights. In essence what is practised in Nigeria is opposed to the above definition of good governance which is BAD GOVERNANCE.

So I don’t get you all confused about the subject matter, I am talking governance as it affects the environment – not until the public institutions become effective and efficient, the Nigerian environment is threatened. Gas flaring releases toxic components into the atmosphere and contributes to climate change. Why the lack of political will to stop gas flaring? By flaring gas, Nigeria wastes US $ 2. billion per year.

The Niger Delta environment can be broken down into four ecological zones: coastal barrier islands, mangrove swamp forests, freshwater swamps, and lowland rainforests. This incredibly well-endowed ecosystem contains one of the highest concentrations of biodiversity on the planet, in addition to supporting abundant flora and fauna, arable terrain that can sustain a wide variety of crops, lumber or agricultural trees, and more species of freshwater fish than any ecosystem in West Africa.

With the rather poor state of governance by the Nigerian state, the region could experience a loss of 40% of its inhabitable terrain in the next thirty years as a result of extensive dam construction in the region; the carelessness of the oil industry has also precipitated that situation. On the other hand, about 35 million plus people in northern Nigeria are suffering from the effects of desertification, the menace is posing a serious threat to the nation’s economy, food security and employment. The Northern part of Nigeria is endowed with a large expanse of arable land that has over the years proved a vital resource for agriculture and other economic activities. But the Sahara desert is advancing south wards at the rate of 6.0 percent every year.

Consequently, Nigeria loses about 350,000 hectares of land every year to desert encroachment. This has led to demographic displacements in villages across 11 states in the North. It is estimated that Nigeria loses about $5.1 billion every year owing to rapid encroachment of drought and desert in most parts of the north. Rather than end poverty in Nigeria, I see a rapid increase in poverty. I am one of those that believe and see hope for the Nigerian economy but again for now poverty is written all over and if allowed to continue with unfriendly government policies and corruption, Nigeria will be no more.

So I am clear, a nation with 60% poor people and poor governance, you will expect felling of trees, burning of bushes for farming, erosion of the surface of the earth through wind storms and movement of sand dunes which will eventually result in desert encroachment.

So far, the Nigerian State has not been sufficiently mobilized to understanding the dangers of changing climate, but with good governance, the 160 million Nigerians can rise to the challenge to tackle the challenges ahead. The need for good governance cannot be overemphasised as it affects all factors of a given nation;the Nigerian environment is threatened as a result of bad governance.

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