A young Nigerian climate change activist, Hamzat Lawal, warned on Saturday that the devastating effects of climate change were already being felt in his West African country.
Speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations Youth Climate Change Summit in New York, Hamzat said at least 60 million people were already being affected by the climate crisis along the Lake Chad Basin.
Even as water dries up in the Lake Chad Basin, the Boko Haram insurgency has made things even worse for the populations in Cameroon, Nigeria, Niger and Chad, which used to rely on Lake Chad for survival.
That insurgency, along with the lack of water, has led to unprecedented levels of population displacements and to the prolonged disruption of agricultural, livestock and fishing activities.
“In affected areas, the crisis is deeply aggravating chronic poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition patterns, with the most affected population living in complete destitution and without access to basic social services,” noted a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Hamzat said he joined a global tree-planting initiative because no one, no matter their location would be spared by the consequences of inaction on the climate crisis.
The initiative, known as the Great Green Wall seeks to give hope and unite communities across the Sahel.
Hamzat, who is also an anti-corruption activist, the initiator of Follow The Money, and the founder of Connected Development, a non-profit organization that comprises data analysts, journalists, activists, and students, is attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York where he’s connecting with other young people around the world to share his experiences and learn from them as well.