By Okeoghene Akubuike
Abuja – The National Conservation Foundation (NCF) says it is mobilising youth action and raising climate awareness among youths who are vulnerable to climate change by building their resilience across the country.
Mr Solomon Adefolu, the Programme Lead of NCF, who disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) in Abuja on Monday said “climate change is one of the greatest threats to mankind’’.
Adefolu said that climate change was impacting on people’s lifestyle, especially fuelling environmental crises and disputes across Nigeria.
Adefolu said that the awareness drive for the youths was with the hope to push for peaceful restoration using nature-based actions.
“This effort will garner a national effort to build the consciousness of youth to understand the climate crisis, causes, actors, opportunities.
“It will also drive climate solution toward improving the economic growth towards a peaceful enabling environment. ”
Adefolu said that NCF had identified six areas in line with the Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDCs) on Climate Change where youth could take responsible actions.
“NDCs spell out the actions countries intend to take to address climate change both in terms of adaptation and mitigation.’’
He said that the areas include habitat restoration and regeneration through tree planting; waste recycling and up cycling; advocate and promote renewable energy and government subsidy.
Other areas are grassroot education on climate smart agriculture; community mobilisation in peace building and alternative dispute resolution activities in conflict zones and designing efficient sustainable mobility model in transportation.
NAN recalls that the NCF organised a Climate Action Youth Dialogue event in commemoration of the International Peace Day hosted by the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta as part of efforts to raise climate awareness among youths.
The Director of FUNAAB Zoological Park, Prof. Omobola Jaiyeola described the Work-Earn-Learn Model which was currently implemented by the institution.
Jaiyeola said the model provided the opportunity for youths to gain working experience while being student and earn allowance for the effort they put in the management of the Zoological Park.
Prof. Tajudeen Akanji, the Director, Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan, said the problems associated with climate change had caused massive youth unemployment which was a critical issue the Nigerian government was contending with.
According to him, since farming is not attractive again, Nigerian youth now move in droves from rural communities away from the land to urban areas in search of elusive better lives in the other sectors of the economy.
Akanji said that the political and industry leadership had the obligation to empower the youth to bring out their potential before they could be expected to contribute meaningfully to peace building and development of the society.
“After having been empowered, Nigerian youth can embark on restoring peace in the country in a number of ways.
“One of those ways is by embarking on mitigating activities to relieve the Nigerian environment to reduce the effect of climate change, which is having negative effects on our society and is retarding development and social co-existence among the diverse people.
“Youth can engage in helping to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by involving themselves massively in tree planting to restore the lost forests.
“Youth can involve themselves in physical peace building activities in their various communities and involve themselves in the advocacy for expansion of use of renewable energy to support the quest for development in order to reduce poverty.”
He said that volunteering to empower themselves and other people in communities with skills for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) by youths would go a long way in restoring peace into the various communities that had experienced violent conflicts across Nigeria.
NAN recalls that NCF also recognised and gave the prestigious Climate Action for Peace Champion award to two individuals for their contribution sin restoring peace in the country.
The awardees include Prof. Tajudeen Akanji, the Director of Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan and Col. G.U. Nwamba, Ag. Commander, 35 Artillery Brigade Command, Nigerian Army,Abeokuta .