Anambra worst hit by climate change in Africa- Expert
By Tony Okafor,Awka
An environmental specialist, Elochukwu Ezenekwe, has said Anambra State is the worst hit by climate change in Africa.
He said Anambra had suffered the worst damage from climate change impacts in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.
Ezenekwe who is reputed as Africa’s foremost climate change expert and head of the Climate Change Education and Action Programme (CLEAP), stated this on Thursday during an enlightenment/education session at the Government House, Awka, the Anambra State capital.
He said, “Climate change hits us in Africa through various extreme weather and climate-related events that include drought, flooding and gully erosion.
Drought and desertification are the least destructive and easiest to manage. Flooding is more destructive but usually allows for recovery of houses and properties when the waters recede.
“But for gully erosion, the damage is comprehensive and total. Be it classrooms, community health centres, houses, crops, farmlands, roads, electricity infrastructure, livelihoods and all, everything collapses into the very deep gullies and nothing is recovered.
Anambra state suffers from flooding and is also the headquarters of gully erosion in Africa, hence there is need to prioritise or even outrightly declare a climate change emergency in the state.”
He admonished the state government to take needed steps to start earning income from the carbon credit and emissions trading opportunities presented by the large scale tree planting programme as well as the massive evacuation and treatment of wastes being undertaken by the Prof Chukwuma Soludo-led administration.
A staff of the Peace Advocacy and Sustainable Development Outreach (PASDO), Ms Chioma Nwafor, said the programme was organized by PASDO as part of its CLEAP programmr that aimed at galvanizing climate action by educating stakeholders and actors at the community, local, state, national and international levels.
Topics covered during the session included the impacts of climate change globally and in Anambra State; the concept of climate justice and international climate change adaptation fund opportunities; finance opportunities in climate change mitigation through international carbon market and emissions trading systems, among others.
Reacting to the lecture, the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Ernest Ezeajughi, commended the climate expert and the nongovernmental organization, PASDO, for embarking on the noble work of enlightening the government on the challenges and inherent opportunities that could be explored.
He said the governor had made it a target to plant one million trees every year (with four million trees to be planted over the next four years), pledging to coordinate with the executive heads of relevant ministries and agencies to design the best modality for implementing the recommendations proffered by PASDO.