Nigerian Federal Government has officially declared that the direct economic damage inflicted by the catastrophic floods in 2022 stands at a staggering $7 billion. Additionally, the government reported a heart-wrenching toll of over 600 lives lost due to the disaster. This dire situation has been labeled as the most severe manifestation of climate change in Nigeria to date.
The revelation was made by Vice President Kashim Shettima during a significant event hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Abuja. Represented by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Hassan, Vice President Shettima emphasized the devastating impact of the floods, which led to widespread damage and loss.
Vice President Shettima highlighted, “We are all living witnesses to the ravaging floods of last year (2022), which held the country to a standstill for days. The World Bank’s Global Rapid post-disaster damage estimation assessment put the total direct economic damage to infrastructure to be about $7 billion. This is equivalent to 1.6 per cent of Nigeria’s estimated 2021 Gross Domestic Product, not including the loss of over 600 lives. For Nigeria, that was climate change at its worst.”
In his address, Vice President Shettima underscored the gravity of climate change, labeling it the most pressing challenge facing humanity today. He noted that despite Nigeria’s status as a developing nation in the global south, its vulnerability to climate change’s adverse effects was alarmingly high. Nigeria is ranked among the ten countries worldwide that are most vulnerable to climate change impacts.
Vice President Shettima further remarked, “This is despite our negligible contribution to overall global carbon emissions responsible for climate change. In fact, Africa as a whole accounts for less than four per cent of total global carbon emissions.”
The Vice President spoke from personal experience, revealing that he and many others from the North-Eastern region of Nigeria bore the scars of climate change effects on a daily basis. He highlighted a range of impacts, including drought, desertification, disrupted rainfall patterns leading to sandstorms, severe floods, destruction of farmlands, infrastructure, and human settlements.
The Nigerian government’s declaration emphasizes the urgency of addressing climate change and its devastating consequences. With an eye-watering $7 billion economic loss and a tragic loss of lives, it is evident that climate change poses an imminent threat to Nigeria’s development and the well-being of its citizens.
Experts, policymakers, and communities are called upon to collaborate on strategies that prioritize climate resilience, mitigation, and adaptation efforts. As the country faces the far-reaching impacts of climate change, concerted global action is necessary to confront and overcome the challenges posed by this pressing crisis.