Sea Rise: 32 million Nigerians risk becoming environmental refugees – Minister

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MinMinister of Environment, Mrs Laurentia Mallam, has cautioned that over 32 million Nigerians living along the coastal zone of the Niger Delta might be displaced and become environmental refugees due to incessant rise in sea level.
The minister revealed that with an accelerated sea level rise of 1.0 metres, 75 per cent of the Niger Delta would be gone under water.
‘’Given this scenario, it implies that nearly 32 million people (22.6% of the national population) who live along the coastal zone are at risk of becoming environmental refugees,’’ Mrs Mallam said, warning that: ‘’Such forced movement could result in social frictions arising from demands of land resources for economic activities by the refugees.’’

Giving the warning during her speech to mark the 2014 World Environment Day tagged: ‘’Raise your voice not the sea level,’’ she added that cities such as Lagos, Port Harcourt, Calabar and Warri were sensitive to sea level rise and storm surge.
“Nigeria is endowed with low-laying coastline of about 853 km long. This coastline is very important to the economy of the country. It accounts for most of the country’s industrial establishments and energy infrastructure.
“Moreover, many fishing grounds will be adversely affected, thus threatening major livelihood of the rural dwellers along the Nigerian coast. This is because the mangrove swamps provide breeding grounds and refuge for many fish species and the intrusion of saline water due to sea level rise will have an undesirable consequence on fresh water resources of the affected areas,” the minister.

Mrs Mallam highlighted that the impacts of climate change are manifested by erosion and landslides in the east, drought, and desertification in the north, raising sea levels in the coastal areas and flooding across the nation.
According to her, the only choice for humanity is to take practical actions through reducing emissions, awareness creation, preparing for extreme events to be able to adapt to climate change impacts.
‘’We need to plan for the changes that are expected to occur. We need to adjust our ecological, social, and economic systems and change the way we do things,’’ the minister submitted.
Project Steering Committee members of the National Implementation Plan of the Stockholm Convention during their official inaugural ceremony held at the Ministry’s head office in Abuja.

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