By Opeyemi Solaru
As a tropical country, heavy rainfall is very common in Nigeria — especially during the rainy season usually from June to September. Climate change has become increasingly damaging to countries all over the world, from the deadly floods in Germany to the wildfires and droughts in California. This is also evident from Nigeria’s varying climate conditions — humidity, rainfall, and fluctuating temperatures.
Poor infrastructure can negatively impact several sectors. After just an hour of rain, many are unable to leave their homes, businesses struggle to operate as usual, internet connectivity worsens and traffic limits mobility. In agriculture, it reduces the production of crops which also affects livestock. Increased rainfall can also cause flooding and even damage farms. Health care implications are not to be overlooked, as there is an increase of water-borne bacteria, in addition to the impacts of food shortages. The energy sector is affected by increased rainfall and climate change when power generation is reduced and transmission lines are damaged.
Generally, the economy can be negatively affected by climate change, due to increased spending caused by production and infrastructural losses. Specifically within the agricultural sector, farmers have seen losses of up to billions of naira as a result of the increased rainfall and subsequent flooding. Given that agriculture contributes to approximately 25% of Nigeria’s GDP, this flooding can ultimately be quite damaging to the economy.
Legislation that tackles climate change and tries to reduce the damage as much as possible is critical. As the impact of climate change, specifically, increased rainfall has such a significant impact on agricultural productivity, policies such as flood control, environmental policies and pollution control are a few that should be strongly considered.
While there are a few renewable energy projects in Nigeria, the implementation of the Renewable Energy Master Plan has been limited since it was created in 2006 and updated in 2011. Experts within this space recommend that the government provide incentives for investors in the renewable energy sector.
It is evident that government involvement in mitigating the impact of climate change is very critical in Nigeria. While the previous response has been limited, the government has engaged in some efforts to promote renewable energy and combat climate change. The Nigerian government should expand upon such programs for more sustainable, impactful change.