The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund has said over 110 million Nigerian children are at risk of the effects of climate change.
It also revealed that Nigeria was the second most vulnerable country worldwide in terms of children’s exposure to climate change.
A statement by UNICEF in celebration of World Children’s Day titled, ‘For every child, every right,’ said the nationwide celebration in Nigeria focused on child rights amidst the escalating climate crisis, saying that events across the country saw children from various regions, including Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Enugu, Sokoto, and Maiduguri, leading discussions on the significant impact of climate change on their lives and futures.
It read, “The discussions covered various critical issues, including the direct health impacts of climate change on children, such as increased physical dangers, waterborne diseases, and malnutrition. The event also shed light on the alarming rate of child displacement due to environmental disasters, with 650,000 children displaced from 2016 to 2021 due to floods.
“Nigeria, as the second most vulnerable country worldwide in terms of children’s exposure to climate change, faces severe challenges. Over 110 million Nigerian children are at risk, having confronted the harsh realities of rising temperatures, flooding, drought, and severe storms.”
Director General, National Council on Climate Change, Dr Salisu Dahiru, said, “As one of the countries that suffers the greatest exposure to adverse climate impacts, Nigeria’s response to climate change must be swift and holistic, accounting for the needs of vulnerable people, including children and women, at the decision-making level, as well as in the implementation of the National Climate Change Action Plan.
“This celebration is a crucial platform for our children, the most affected by climate change, to voice their concerns and experiences. Their input is essential in shaping our collective path towards a sustainable and resilient future.”
The celebration also highlighted collaboration efforts between the government, development partners, civil society organisations, and the private sector, focusing on advocacy, partnerships, and climate education.