Effects of climate change on human is inevitable. It has also been proven with facts that Africa Continent is actually one of the most vulnerable continents to climate change effects due to lack of effective structure to mitigate these effects such as desert encroachment and incessant and perennial flooding which is part of our major rainy season experiences, in this part of the world. However, in 2013, as part of the efforts geared towards the mitigation of the unforseen climate change effects on the Nigerian populace, President Jonathan eventually assented the Climate Change Bill upon clamours and agitation from environmentalists and climate change experts in the country.
To be candid, Nigeria was long overdue for the climate change Bill as at the time it was passed. The reason being that so many communities and villages were already feeling the negative impacts of climate change effects without clear understanding of what to do and where to go. One such of communities is Gutsura. I know many would ask where is Gutsura? Gutsura is a small community in Zamfara State, Nigeria with population of over 3,000 people. Gutsura people are predominantly subsistence farmers, agrarian community. In other words Gutsura, as a community relies solely on annual crop yield for survival and as their major means of livelihoood.
There has been so many reports on how Gutsura is one of the flood prone communities in Nigeria. This is because of its proximity to a Water Dam own by the government, invariably it would take only divine intervention to save Gutsura Community from being swept away by flooding, when there is downpour and the dam get overfilled beyond its normal level. In 2011, it was reported that most their farm produce were swept away as result of incessant flooding. In a bid to alleviate the sufferings of Gutsura people, Follow the Money team, an online platform created by Connected Development (CODE) to amplify the voices of the marginalised and forgotten communities, visited the community in 2013, to ascertain the condition so as to develop an advocacy strategy to reach out to the Nigerian government as well as international communities.
Since then, several online sensitisation, reports/news and advocacy has been released towards federal and state governments intervention. One of such advocacy strategy is ‘Relocate Gutsura’ created by the Follow the Money team, CODE earlier this year. In 2013, government responded and gave its word on the relocation of Gutsura, to a better place that would not be prone to flooding; this would also help the agricultural activities which is the source of livelihood in community. However, up until now, nothing has been done in that regard on part of the federal and state governments to heed to the yearning and plight these people. A visit to this community, you cannot but help seeing how warm and peaceful they are, despite the fact that they are the most vulnerable people in Nigeria to climate Change effects.
There is need for urgent intervention of the Federal and state Governments of Nigeria to relocate Gutsura as promised. Abandoning over 3,000 Nigerians to their fate in such degrading environment is like a ‘sin’ against humanity and even a complete denial of fundamental human rights as full fledged citizens of the federal Republic of Nigeria.