By Aisar Fagge
Surge Africa – a non-profit organization that advocates for policy implementation on climate change and resilience building laments how media in Northern Nigeria underreport climate change despite its apparent effect on agriculture which the North relies on as the major source for living for its people.
This was revealed on Thursday, December 23, 2021, at a workshop held at Chilla Luxury Suites, Kano. The workshop titled: “Media Workshop on Reporting Climate Change” brought Northern Nigerian journalists across print, broadcast, and online media to educate and sensitize them about the importance and necessity of climate change reporting in their respective media organizations.
In her presentation, Nasreen Al-Amin, the founder and Executive Director of Surge Africa, introduced participants to climate science and communication. She tasked them to spread knowledge on climate change, what causes it and its effect on the socio-economic activities of Northern Nigerians.
Another expert, Salihu Hamisu, who is researching how climate change is affecting the agricultural ecosystem in Nigeria, lamented, “Africa is not responsible for the climate change but suffers the most.” He recalled how in 1963, when Lake Chad was at its peak, over 30 million people from Cameroon, Niger, Chad and Nigeria depended on it. But now, as a result of climate change, the Lake has less than 10% of what it has, with over 70 million people earning a living from it. Hamisu added that with the current pace of drought and floods, Northern Nigeria faces an imminent food crisis.
Also, Adejumo Kabir, multiple award-winning journalists, presented papers on “Climate Reporting: Shaping Inclusive Narratives” and “Media for Climate Justice: Developing Stories for Social Change.”
Some participants spoke to The Daily Reality about what they learned at the Workshop. Mustapha Hodi, said:
“As a participant, I have learnt a lot about climate change, particularly the fact that Africa is the one bearing the brunt of emissions from developed countries. As a journalist, the workshop has helped me identify key areas to concentrate on reporting climate change.”
“By and large, the training has become a wake-up call to me to be reporting climate change frequently in a bid to create awareness to the general public about its dangers and even the opportunities it creates.”
Hannatu Sulaiman Abba was another participant from Arewa Media who said, “This workshop has shaped my mind on climate change. It develops my passion to advocate for climate change in our community, engage the government in policymaking and sensitize the public on the effect of climate change. This is indeed a big milestone in my journalism career.”
At the end of the workshop, participants were grouped into three to brainstorm and write a report on improving climate change reporting. Misbahu El-Hamza expressed his satisfaction saying: “My expectations were sufficiently achieved. What’s, even more, was how we worked as a group to brainstorm ideas that could be effective in steering social and policy change. Through this workshop, I now am equipped with the know-how to see the dangers as well as opportunities presented by climate change in my region of northern Nigeria and how to engage the public to mitigate and get the best out of it.”