Environmentalist identifies cause of Boko Haram insurgency

Posted by News Express | 28 July 2015 | 2,949 times

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Dr. Vandana Shiva, a world-renowned environmentalist, has said that the over-exploitation and depletion of Lake Chad was partly responsible for insurgency in the North-East region of Nigeria.

Shiva spoke to newsmen on Monday in Abuja after a joint a news conference with an NGO, the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMHF), on the need to preserve the soil.

According to him, the degradation of the lake negatively affected millions of lives around it, leading to frustrations which result in the conflict.

Shiva said: “The emergency of violence in Northern Nigeria is deeply connected to degradation of the environment around Lake Chad.

“As this degradation happens, livelihood disappears; what use to be symbiotic relationship end up in conflicts.

“That is what we have witnessed with the Lake Chad, shrinking to five per cent of the water it used to have. Nine million people living around it, supported as fishermen and farmers.”

The environmentalist noted that land and water use were inter-connected system that degrade the land, deforest and destroy pasture, ending up creating resource crisis.

According to her, when that which supports a man is taken away, there is frustration, anger and insecurity, leading to violence and crime.

“It is not an accident that young people turn towards violence because that is the way they maintain themselves,” she said.

Shiva suggested the rejuvenation of the lake through agriculture and by extension the economy of the North-East as a way to tackle the insurgency.

Her words: “I think first is the recognition that there is a serious resource crisis, there is a serious ecological crisis and derive from that is serious livelihood and insecurity crisis.

“The challenge is to rejuvenate the resources. I really have this dream that instead of government blowing up big money on giant palaces and super highways, let them put money into employment to rebuild the soil and water.”

Shiva said this could be done through tree planting and cultivation of crops such as millets which required little water, to slowly build back soil and water.

“The millets only use 250 millimetres of water compared to chemically grown rice which uses 2,500, a few drops of rains can give you millets; they are resilient no matter what happens. My calculation is that the world could have 400 times more nutrition from millets than we get from chemically grown rice,” she said.

According to the environmentalist, the millets Africa gives to the world is the answer for reversal of soil degradation and water depletion.

Earlier, both Shiva and Director, HOMEF, Mr. Nnimmo Bassey, noted that greed and power to exploit people and resources without responsibility pose challenge to the environment.

They blamed mostly oil companies which extract natural resources but failed to take measures to tackle global warming,

“We are living in a chaotic and violent world. In history this violence has been marked by slavery, colonialism and imperialism. These continued today under different guises and are sugar-coated with the cloak of neo-liberalism. Naked exploitation and despoliation remain the creed,” they said. (NAN)

Photo shows Shiva.

Source: News Express

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