Updates on Ecosocial Well-Being and Health.
Volume 3, Number 1
It was new year yesterday, but we are already in the fourth month of 2022. This is our first publication for 2022, though late. The days are going by and so fast! We continue to witness various changes globally. As the world was coming out from the COVID-19 lockdown, news started trickling in about the possibility of war following a chronic conflict between Ukraine and Russia. It has been over fifty days that the two nations have been at war since February 24, 2022. But we keep our hopes alive especially in this fourth month that we observe the Ramadan and the Easter Periods for the Muslims and Christians respectively; a time to pray, fast and celebrate renewing our hopes and reflecting on the newness of tomorrow and the beauty of the war ceasing. For wars and the associated (in)direct social complexities are some of the human activities that largely contribute to a fast-changing global climate, particularly the impact of war on the environment. It is also a time to reflect on how we can unite globally to end wars rather than viewing wars as a panacea to conflicts.
The times we are in call for more deliberate individualized intentions on how to tackle the climate crisis. Of note, the summit of COP26 has come, and we believe that governments, civil society organizations and other stakeholders locally and globally are processing the summit outcomes and what they propose to do. In all, there should be considerations of climate justice relative to the vulnerable in the global South. Of note, the global South largely bear the brunt of environmental crisis with little or no resources and capacity to manage. As Indermit Gill, the Vice-President at the World Bank reiterates, “If this conflict continues, the impact will probably be more consequential than the coronavirus crisis.’’ Coming down home to Nigeria, the long-term vision for Nigeria is one of the outcomes of COP26, as a critical track for a low-carbon, climate-resilient transition. President Buhari has announced Nigeria will reduce its carbon emission to reach net-zero by 2060. But the rate the cost of inflation, currently, is astronomically high and impacts the socio-economic determinants of life of its citizenry. The numerous policy response to climate change continue to drive global prices of products. For e.g., considering all the interventions carried out by the Federal Government to diversify the economy and boost food production in Nigeria, security concerns have made farmers lose their livelihoods, particularly the impact of desertification and extreme arid conditions affecting water sources and available fodder for grazing in the Northern part of Nigeria. In Southern part of Nigeria, deforestation and the persistent climate-driven floods in South-East Nigeria continues to worsen the food (in)security situation. The combining crisis of climate change, conflicts and COVID-19 continues to affect Nigerians. These environmental events have been a threat to agriculture and the survival of cattle, besides serving as a source of livelihood for Fulani herders from the North. The migration and intrusion of Fulani herders has brought about destruction of farmlands, deaths, violence, loss of income and livelihood by farmers and huge displacement of Nigerian’s food production population as farmers and herders compete for farmlands escalating food prices from low harvest of crops, degradation of indigenous lands with worsening hostility. Maize and wheat production has declined in recent years due to extreme weather events, temperature increase, heightening plant diseases, and an overall increase in water scarcity in North Nigeria. Further, acute hunger crisis has been made worse by wheat shortages and price spikes caused by Ukraine and Russian war, besides the Nigerian ethnic conflicts. More so, food insecurity is worsened by food wastages as most vehicles transporting harvested food products are destroyed on route. Despite the associated conflicts and insecurities with pastoral nomadic farming the northern cattle herders continue to migrate into farming regions in the South and Central parts of Nigeria, such as Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Nassarawa, Plateau, Taraba, Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi states with their cattle taking advantage of their green lands and rich aquifers.
The number of food-insecure people in pastoral and marginal agriculture areas in Nigeria has risen from 2.1 million in August 2021 to 3.1million by February 2022, according to an IPCC report indicating that increasing climate extreme events have exposed millions of people to acute food insecurity, besides reduced water security. With the back-to-back-record-breaking floodings experienced in Nigeria, flood disasters continue to wreck massive impact on food production, as the floods overwhelm the agricultural resources on the farmlands reducing crop and animal production with impact to access affordable, stable, quality, and available food. Further, besides external immigration, food (in)security and hunger will have tremendous impact on internal displacement for worst hit communities with associated social inequalities affecting the most vulnerable if there are no resilient interventions effected. It is also notable that food import in Nigeria exceeded exports by 2.23 trillion in 12 months. The exported food products were mostly high-quality coca beans and sesamum seeds were exported to Europe and Asia.
On another note, Lancet published a 45-page report by Lancet-Nigeria Commission that uses a health framework to narrate on the vast human potential and opportunities based on the nations’ history and present situation. A report led by Nigerian team of professionals across the globe, for Nigeria, and for every stakeholder interested in and invested in Nigeria. The report is a holistic narrative urging Nigerians to rightly take its place on the world stage as it addresses intractable and extreme inequalities that plague the nation via a new contract that defines the relationality between the Nigerian people and the state proposing a new identity merged in, “One Nation, One Health” policy.
Finally, Angela Oyilieze David-Akanwa (PhD) will be contributing to our NCEHR newsletter as one of our editors. Welcome to the Editorial team, Angela!!!
Editors: Ngozi Nneka Joe-Ikechebelu & Angela Oyilieze David-Akanwa