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110 million children in Nigeria at risk, more vulnerable to climate change — UNICEF

Statistics by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have revealed that over 110 million Nigerian children are at risk and more vulnerable, having been confronted with the harsh realities of rising temperatures, flooding, drought, and severe storms.

The statistics also revealed that between 2016 and 2023, a total of 650,000 children in Nigeria were displaced by floods.

The sad development is making it the second most vulnerable situation worldwide in terms of children’s exposure to climate change facing severe climatic challenges.

The statistics were contained in a press release issued to journalists in Gombe by UNICEF as part of Nigeria’s joining the rest of the globe to mark the 2023 World Children’s Day (WCD), which is marked every November 20.

This year’s focus is on a nationwide celebration of child rights and climate change awareness.

According to the Director General of the National Council on Climate Change, Dr Salisu Dahiru, “As one of the countries that suffer 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.”

According to UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, Cristian Munduate, “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.”

She also stated that “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.”

Earlier, education stakeholders, as well as those in the environment sector, including ACReSAL and NEWMAP in Gombe State, as well as media practitioners from Bauchi and Gombe States, including other relevant organisations, attended the formal launch of the Climate Landscape Analysis for Children (CLAC) in Nigeria to commemorate the 2023 World Children’s Day.

The launch activities were streamed live by the Bauchi Field Office of UNICEF with a Nationwide Celebration of child rights and Climate Change Awareness in Abuja, Nigeria

The key highlights of the launch were the climate risks to children, as an overview of the multi-sectoral climate mitigation and adaptation actions that UNICEF intends to implement in Nigeria from 2023–2027 was emphasised.

In attendance at the ceremony held at the Conference Hall of the Evolution Hotel, Tunfure, Gombe, was the Officer-in-Charge of UNICEF, Bauchi Field Office, Dr Clement Adams, Gombe State Commissioner for Education, Professor Aishatu Umar Maigari, as well as the Project Coordinator of Agro-Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscape (ACReSAL), Gombe State, Ambassador Sani Adamu Jauro.

Other stakeholders who attended the launch were veteran journalists Farida Muhammad Dunemia, Alhaji Usman Shehu, Alhaji Aliyu Ardo, and others from Pathway to Peace DW Academia.

After the launch, an inter-school quiz competition on climate change organised by UNICEF in collaboration with the Gombe State Ministry of Education, ACReSAL, and Pathway to Peace DW Academia was held.

While declaring the completion open, the Commissioner of Education charged the students to see the inter-school quiz competition as an avenue to learn about climate change.

She commended UNICEF for the launch of CLAC and also came up with the idea of an inter-school competition on climate change to further create awareness among the students while they are still young.

Aishatu Maigari called for the need to sustain CLAC and other interventions for children in order to leave a lasting legacy in society.

At the end of the quiz, Government Girls Mega College, Gombe, emerged first in the inter-school competition, while Government Day Secondary School, Gandu, and Government Day Secondary School, Gombe, emerged second and third, respectively.

The students were urged to keep alive all they had learned and will learn about climate change so that they can become climate change ambassadors and influencers later in life.

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