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Climate change has emerged as the most defining issue facing this generation. Across Africa where more than a third of national economies are dependent on water-fed agriculture; the stake cannot be higher as climate change threatens centuries of cultural norms and millions of lives and livelihoods. Lake Chad, the largest lake in the Lake Chad Basin, is a nutrient-rich water body that primarily cuts across four different countries; Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria, and supplies the water needs of over 30 million people. In the absence of adequate social amenities like potable water resource in many parts of these four neighboring countries, Lake Chad is an important source of economic livelihood and a haven for farmers, fishermen, herdsmen and their cattle. Limited local studies on the vulnerability of water resources (like Lake Chad) to climate change further complicates the existing poor understanding of the water-climate change-conflict nexus. This has left the approach to addressing the problem fragmented and ineffective as it neglected one of the most important root causes of the problem. It also limited local capacity on adaptation and mitigation approaches, effective knowledge-sharing, and other support initiatives. Recently, the approach is changing and more attention is now being paid to the impact of climate change on the water crisis in Northern Nigeria, and how that, in turn, fuels intra-and-inter-communal conflicts. This study, therefore, interrogates the multi-component concept of water as a critical resource and explores the fine links between climate change and resource depletion in the Lake Chad and the rising spate of water-linked conflicts in the Northern part of Nigeria. In conclusion, the study explores why the capacity building of residents and regulatory institutions around/on the Lake is key to improving resilience in the water sector as well as achieving water and food security in Nigeria.

Alaba Kunlere

Education officer I, Federal Civil Service

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