Varsity Don raises alarm over climate change, says one billion people may be forced to migrate

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An Associate Professor in Media Studies, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, Prof. Ufuoma Akpojivi, yesterday, raised the alarm that one billion people may be forced to migrate Europe countries before the end of a century due to climate change if urgent action is not taken.

He said this while speaking on the theme: “Migration, Climate Change and Dot Connections in an event put together by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Pan Atlantic University for the training of media practitioners drawn from the various states and held in Lagos.

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Prof Akpojivi who quoted Watts et al 2018, 13 said climate change is responsible for at least, 4,400 persons who have migrated and that the number would rise astronomically in the future.

“(Watts et al 2018, 13) climate change is the sole contributing factor for at least 4,400 people who are already being forced to migrate worldwide.

“The total number of people vulnerable to migration might increase to one billion by the end of the century without significant further actions on climate change”, he quoted.

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Akpojivi said there is no doubt that human activities caused climate change bring major impact to humanity and earth that society is not dealing significantly with these changes.

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He lamented that the pathways to improve actions are not being implemented at the levels needed.

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He also said denying that climate change and migration have links would be ignoring the reality that many communities involuntarily face while downplaying realistic scenario for the future.

The professor while answering questions on the roles government should play in mitigating impacts of climate change with the view of stemming the tide of irregular migration, he said nation states should educate their citizens on how to conserve their environment.

He said government should push for renewable energy while cutting down gas flaring in the various regions.

On the part of IOM, it says, since 2001, it has been working with the federal government of Nigeria to provide Assisted Voluntary Return and Reinterpretation (AVRR) support to Nigerian migrants adding that since April 2017, over 21,000 stranded migrants in Libya, Niger, Mali and other transit/destination countries with their voluntary return to Nigeria.

Also speaking, Dr. Chike Mgbeadichie, appealed for Nigerians to return their culture noting that it will help to check irregular migration.