There is a general outcry about the preavailing hot weather especially in the cities.People now sweat more and are having frequent baths.There is restlessness among urbanites.
The signs of the heat now being experienced have always been there but perhaps, the signs were not seen in complete and correct context, or were not properly analysed and interpreted for people to understand.
Nigerians therefore misunderstood the frustrations of Ardo Zuru, Usman Baba Maikasuwa and Muhammadu Kirowa – all herdsmen and Fulani leaders in Nigeria who had become very worried people. They have been driven to desperation. And they could no longer manage the frustrating circumstances of the changing climate as their prized animals were dying in hundreds of thousands.
Their pastures in Adamawa, Jigawa, Sokoto, Katsina and other locations in the far North have all dried up and become desolate places.
The once majestic Lake Chad has receded into a stream and the existence of the Fulanis – a nomadic horde had to find a way to survive hence the fight to gain a foothold in greener pastures. This explains their drive to migrate into the Benue-Plateau basin and Southwards.
They have always had a presence in Auchi, Edo State and have used that location to launch into the South-East and into states in the South-South.
This movement of the Fulani people, generally perceived as political does not tell the full story. These nomadic cow breeders are a displaced people.
They are being driven away by the scorching sun and heat waves from their hitherto comfort zones.
The sun which has lost its temperament has dried up major sources of water for cattle, the mainstay of their economy and livelihood.
Down South, it is the planting season where, in all the villages, all troop out into farmsteads daily to cut down trees, gather and burn the stumps to prepare the ground for farming. Cutting of old trees and bush burning has gone on unrestrained among Africans even before Jesus Christ was born. Imagine the quantum of smoke released into the horizon ever since. Consider the number of trees which have been felled without being replaced. We hardly have forests again.
At the level of industrial concerns, gas flaring has been the biggest and most powerful business since the discovery of oil. Emissions from all manner of vehicles, the total reliance on fuel and dependence on generating sets and all types of fuel consuming engines are deliberate activities which have hurt our beautiful planet so much. The Earth, which was designed as a garden, has been turned into a massive desert by its inhabitants.
This is the reason for the heat this time. People now struggle to sleep at daytime or in the night.The beds are hot and a lot of people now pace about all night long. Tiled floors have become the new brides in town.Almost everyone wants to caress and kiss the cold floor. Everyone craves for its feel. Some have resorted to sleeping inside ceramic bath tubs filled with water.Some now bath twelve times before day break and a lot of people have relapsed into the Adamic state; walking around naked in their homes.
Some now sleep in between ice – blocks while blankets, duvets and rug carpets have lost their pride of place in homes. Water beds would soon return in all glory. At day time, the heat waves is so inconveniencing.
As usual, many have taken to social media to express how they feel. Comfort Gabriel, an undergraduate sees the weather as confused “from heat to harmattan.” Some have described it as “brutal, cruel, unbearable, harsh and selfish” – a reference to the hitherto song and dance about “weather for two” when it was cold.
Some Nigerians think the windows of hell have been opened while someone wrote that the Chief of Staff to the Prince of Hell was on a state visit to its sister country, Nigeria hence the heat condition had to be programmed to make him feel more at home!
Trust Nigerians, an unpertubed race where serious matters are often reduced to jokes. For instance, a very talented journalist, Kenneth Jude, wrote that “Chelsea’s disastrous loss to Bayern Munich in a Champions league match few days ago increased the heat condition to 87 per cent!
However, the heat this time is not entirely bad as many smart people have recorded a boost; selling ice blocks and ice cream. Two months ago, Miss Deborah Daniel, a dealer, used to sell four ice blocks for one hundred naira, but today, ice blocks are sold one to one!
The scalding heat could be deadly. It could cause fatigue, nausea and at worst, kidney failure. Time to avoid some sports and strenuous exercises. Although human beings will adapt over time given their nature of adaptability, deliberate steps must be taken to prevent this new normal circumstance from taking tolls in epidemic proportion.
Let us respond with tree planting around homes, streets and creation of gardens and artificial forests even in our cities so people could go and rest under shades at daytime. The debate in our various legislative chambers must go beyond tax remmittances and local content matters to insistence against gas flaring by oil producing companies.
The women who must cook using firewood and the men who demand to eat only food cooked with firewood must stop living in the 16th century so that logging which leads to mindless deforestation would give way to deliberate reforestation.
The Earth is in overheat but the bad news is that the condition will endure, a direct result of centuries of neglect and poor management of the planet. But why haven’t Nigerians been advised on how to survive this hellish heat, one hasn’t heard any public service announcement urging people to drink more water, stay hydrated or wear lighter clothing. Nothing about steps to be taken like a resort to oral rehydration therapy in emergency situations. Why do our leaders leave everything to chance?
Methinks that this new climatic condition should be seen as a natural disaster and government should not just stand and stare.
Maybe, just maybe, the heat this time, is a dress rehearsal for hell hence the resignation to it by all concerned.
Udeme Nana is a mass communication lecturer at the Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic, Ikot Osurua.