Climate Change and Conflict in Nigeria: The Boko Haram Challenge
This paper presents a structural and empirical analysis of the agential of the raison d’être for Nigeria’s unpreparedness to adapt to changing climate. Structures and strictures of rentier state, prebendal politics, and people-unfriendly economic reforms have derailed the developmental focus of the state and led to the emergence of self-serving, self-perpetuating political elites. This increasingly weakened the state’s capacity and sovereignty across its territory, making room only for a narrow focus on a segment of the state—the southern region—due largely to its economic importance (rent generation). These three factors fueled unprecedented capital flight from Nigeria, engendered general apathy to climate change among political office holders, and drastically impinged on the state’s capacity and willingness to pursue meaningful adaptation programs. Thus, Nigeria’s legal, policy, structural and institutional adaptive mechanisms for climate change are anything but adequate. The net effect is exposure of the vast population of farmers in northern Nigeria to harsh environmental effects, consequently generating conflict. This article makes a case for government and private sector partnership in undertaking initiatives towards addressing challenges posed by global climatic change, as a measure to stemming the tide of youth radicalization and rise of terrorist groups like Boko Haram.