Death and destruction in northeast Nigeria Brutal killings, the abduction and rape of young girls and women, mass displacements and hunger, form the reality of life in areas of the Lake Chad Basin that are affected by the Boko Haram crisis.
This crisis was provoked in part by the massacre of defenseless civilians by Nigerian security forces in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri in 2009. Protests were organized by the Islamist group Jama‘atu Ahli es Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad (commonly referred to as Boko Haram), which escalated into an armed rebellion in northeastern Nigeria that has spilled over into Niger, Chad and northwestern Cameroon – areas that
border Lake Chad. Read Full Report
REPORT LAUNCH AND PANEL DISCUSSION
Venue: Nicon Luxury Hotel, Abuja FCT, Nigeria
Date: 15 May 2019
Time: 9:00 AM – 2:00 PM
The Lake Chad Basin is the scene of one of the first major international conflicts linked to climate change. Here, the Boko Haram insurgency has resulted in the killing of over twenty thousand people and created a massive humanitarian disaster with over three million displaced and many more in need of assistance. However, as one resident of Maiduguri, Borno State commented, “there was already massive displacement in northeastern Nigeria before the advent of Boko Haram”. The displacement of people and impoverishment resulted from ecological changes and inadequacies in institutional responses which enabled discontent to germinate.
As part of activities to mark the 23rd anniversary of the killing of nine Ogoni leaders, Social Action’s Community Advocacy Centre in Bori on 10th November 2018 organised a lecture and sensitisation program on oil pollution in Ogoniland.
Weeks of severe and continuous flooding in September and October 2018 has devastated Nigerian communities, affecting almost two million people, according to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). Major rivers and streams overflowed their banks following heavy rains from July destroying crops, inundating whole communities and causing a major humanitarian disaster.
Forest-dependent communities in Cross River, Nigeria and local organisations have opposed plans by the State of California, US to include Cross River forests in California’s forest carbon offset programme. California’s proposed “Tropical Forest Standard” would enable it to buy carbon credits from areas designated for the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) such as Cross River State. REDD is a scheme that promises to pay cash to encourage forests to be set aside as carbon sinks in mitigating climate change. In this case, California, with high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, can continue polluting while paying Cross River State to keep its forests to absorb greenhouse gasses. By doing so, California would be offsetting its emissions.
On Monday, 29 October 2018, victims of severe flooding in Rivers State, with the support of Social Action and other civic groups, rallied in Port Harcourt to protest the abysmal response by the federal, state and local governments to the plight of communities inundated since September 2018. Communities in states like Rivers and Bayelsa are among the worst affected by the 2018 floods, which has affected almost two million Nigerians, according to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
Social Action joined other citizens groups in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on 19th April 2018 in peaceful Streets Walk Campaign against soot pollution in the city and other areas of the state. The black soot which has since 2016 polluted the city, the capital of Nigeria’s petroleum industry, is believed to result from incomplete combustion of hydrocarbon and related materials. While government agencies have failed to act against the pollution, residents believe that the pollution originates from asphalt companies, refineries and illegal artisanal refinery operators. In particular, the indiscriminate burning of confiscated vessels of crude oil thieves and destruction of illegal refineries by soldiers in the military Joint Task Force (JTF) contribute to air and water pollution. The protestors called for increased and transparent action by the authorities to stop the pollution.
Social Action’s monitoring of Ogoni communities in the Gokana, Tai, Eleme and Khana Local Government Areas in Rivers State in first quarter 2018 revealed that the actual clean-up of polluted sites has not yet started. The delay is continuing seven years after the release of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) Report on the Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland, and two years after the flag-off of the clean-up by the federal government in 2016. Our monitoring in Ogoniland also shows that the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), an agency set up by the Federal Government for cleanup is yet to award contracts for the implementation of emergency measures since the advertisement for the expression of interest by qualified companies in 2017. Thus, the Ogoni people are still without clean drinking water, health audit and other emergency measures recommended by UNEP in 2011.
By Ndidi P. Anih and Fyneface D. Fyneface
The descriptive name of the scheme, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) hides issues such as whether women were involved in the initial decision making on whether or not the scheme should be implemented in their villages, especially in Cross Rivers State, Nigeria. Here, most women indicated that they did not know about these matters. For those who did know, they said they were not invited to meetings when those decisions were made.
In November 2017, Social Action and partner organisation, YARAC organised citizens’ dialogues in Maiduguri and Yola as part of the ongoing effort to identify alternative solutions to social and ecological crisis in north-eastern Nigeria.
Participants comprising civil society groups, development experts, academia, governmental and non-governmental actors have identified the correction of structural imbalances embedded in the socio-economic, political and ecological configuration of north-east Nigeria as fundamental to engendering genuine and lasting development in the region. They said any effort to sustainably re-build the region must incorporate concrete mechanisms for tackling ecological issues while incorporating solid frameworks for socio-economic development and sound governance principles with active elements of citizens-focused accountability mechanisms.