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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Bassey: Nowhere to run from Nigeria’s environmental crisis

The crisis has gone further than just climate change, we are confronted with an unrelenting environmental change, says activist and architect Nnimmo Bassey at the premiere of the documentary film ‘Nowhere to Run – Nigeria’s Climate and Environmental Crisis’ in Abuja

Nnimmo Bassey
Nnimmo Bassey

Nowhere to Run – Nigeria’s Climate and Environmental Crisis is a 52-minute documentary that shows in very clear terms that climate change is not a story but a reality. It is a crisis. For us in Nigeria, the crisis has gone further than just climate change, we are confronted with an unrelenting environmental change. This documentary provides another proof that our pioneer environmental campaigners, like the late Ken Saro-Wiwa were right on track. It is also fitting that the narrator on this documentary is Ken Saro-Wiwa Jnr and that his widow sits among us.

The causes of climate change, including global warming are varied and complex. They are interconnected. Nowhere to Run takes the holistic approach from a variety of perspectives. Global warming is a particularly acute crisis for us in Africa because the expected temperature rise here is at least 50% above the global average. The documentary covers the length and breadth of Nigeria and may well be the definitive and most accessible video documentary of this subject in our nation.

It shows the interconnected nature of the impacts of climate and environmental change. From the desertification in Northern Nigeria, ravaging 11 states; the shrinkage of Lake Chad and the intense floods that we experience. It covers the question of sea level rise along our 853km coastline, gas flaring and the heavy oil pollution of the Niger Delta. These are all accompanied by a severe loss of biodiversity.

The fact that our environment is our life comes through in stark colours.

With rising population and direct dependence on the environment for food, for energy and for other needs, we can say without doubt that the Nigeria environment requires urgent attention.

Nowhere to Run is not just a poetic title for a documentary. It reminds us that we are all in this together. Nigeria is our home. The climate and environmental crisis are the threads that bind us together – inescapably. We must confront all these together, build resilience and play our part in finding solutions: from tree planting to actions to avoid deforestation.

Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation has pulled off a great feat by tackling this great issue of our time in this way. Nowhere to Run is a crisp, powerful and insightful presentation of complex issues. The filmmaker McCain and Jacqueline Farris, the executive director of the film did an excellent job here. Participants in the project gave voice and faces to the pains and challenges of the climate and environmental change in Nigeria and bring these home powerfully.

Nowhere to Run may sound apocalyptic, but it is a documentary that challenges us and yet leaves us with hope that a great, safe and sane future is possible for our nation and for mankind.

Let’s watch. Let’s think. Let’s share. Let us all do something.

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