Children Parliament and Save the Children International (SCI), Nigeria, have called for deliberate action and adequate investments to mitigate the effects of climate change in Nigeria, especially on children.
They made the call in Abuja on Thursday, ahead of the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties called COP28.
The event was organised by SCI.
The children, who said this at the COP28 Simulation Event on Climate Change, said climate change posed an urgent threat to future generations and should be tackled head-on.
Hamisu Mohammed, Speaker, Yobe State Children parliament, said the effects of climate change were on the rise and children were more susceptible to its effects; hence the need to take deliberate action to protect them.
According to Mohammed, children are demanding better access to climate education and more funding for climate-resilient infrastructure as a step in the right direction .
“Other countries are working hard to tackle climate change effects. So, it is good for Nigeria to do the same because we have experienced the worst level of climate crisis in different parts of the country.
“Houses were washed and agriculture has diminished, the repercussions are keenly felt by children; so it is a good thing to have us as children to be among the movement in ending the climate crisis in Nigeria, Mohammed said.
Kubra Ali, the State’s Assembly member representing Kukawa Constituency and Deputy Clerk, Borno State Children Parliament, said that the climate crisis has hindered a lot of children from getting access to quality education.
According to Ali, it has restricted their fundamental rights such as rights to freedom among others, making them vulnerable and violated leading to sexual abuses, mental and psychological traumas.
“There was a flood that happened in Maiduguri which affected children who were usually the most vulnerable group. They could not get access to schools ,they could not go out to play and it made them homeless.
“I want the government to invest in addressing issues of climate change and in doing so, there should not be barriers between the government and the people; they need to come together to achieve it” said Ali.
Amanuel Mamo, SCI Director of Advocacy, Campaign, Communication and Media, said that the effects of climate change would intensify in future if not properly addressed.
Mamo said that droughts, rainfall variability, extreme weather, new human and livestock diseases among others were projected to increase.
“Climate crisis is the biggest challenge of our time. It is a grave threat to children and their rights.
“Child rights” might not even survive a global climate catastrophe. We have created a huge environmental debt to our children and the future generation.
“Children have contributed the least to the climate crisis, and yet we know that they are paying the highest price. “
According to Mamo, the first thing to do is to develop responsible behaviour to protect the environment.
Mamo called for the need to be cautious and deliberate in terms of minimising environmental pollution and the need to use environmental unfriendly materials
He added that the government needed to be deliberate in terms of investing more in environmental protection and encouraging tree planting as well as creating awareness on climate change among citizens.
Dr Yahaya Suleiman of Department of Islamic Studies Nasarawa State University, said that in the Quran, there were almost 750 verses that taught about the relationship between humans and their environment.
“Based on this, it is paramount for religious leaders to teach people on how to conserve and protect the environment,”he said
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Pastor Niyi Adeboye, Redeemed Christian Church of God ,said the Bible encouraged humans to care for their planet.
“In Genesis 2:15 when God kept man in the garden, he told him to dress it, which means to care for it. So, in caring for the planet, we must be concerned about how we do things .
“We should teach people to take care of their environment by processing their waste properly as well as using environmentally friendly products”. he said.