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Insecurity and climate change: What’s the link?

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It is no secret that climate change has come with many effects. It is affecting our temperatures, our environment, introducing more flooding, heatwaves, affecting biodiversity and and and. The list is endless, literally. Climate change is also linked to insecurity in Nigeria, to the point where areas of insecurity are hot spots for climate change.

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Let us look at the typical farmer in Nigeria. Here is a lone farmer growing his crops just to feed his family. Knowing the economic crisis and poverty in Nigeria, do we blame them? Nope. This is a very common livelihood practice. Growing your own rice, your own yam, your own cassava. After all, the kids need to eat. And if the season was great, there is surplus that can be sold for those little nairas, and life goes on.

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Let us focus on herdsmen. These are nomadic people by nature of their livelihood. They go in search of pastures for their cattle to graze on. Now, deforestation is the cutting down of trees right? In Nigeria, it is mainly because of logging, mining activities and agriculture. So when land is deforested there is no vegetation for the cows to graze. So the herdsmen are on the move then.

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How do these interact? Or are we making climate change the bad guy as always! These herdsmen do not move around unarmed. So they obviously carry guns to protect themselves, especially from the notorious Boko Haram, and also because they invade peoples’ land. They can’t own every land they rest in surely! Obviously, there will be altercations with the land owners and that is where insecurity happens. These herdsmen deliberately let their cattle graze on the farmers fields. After all, they are armed so everything of theirs is done by force. It is a long chain of events, but the main driver is climate change. If there were pastures, I mean vast pieces of land with no ownership (although that is rare), the herdsmen would have plenty of area for grazing their cattle.

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