A growing proportion of Nigerians say climate change is making life in the country worse, the latest Afrobarometer survey shows.
While only 3 in 10 Nigerians said they had heard of climate change, those familiar with the issue are increasingly concerned about its impact, according to the survey, which was conducted in March 2022, well before Nigeria’s worst flooding in years killed hundreds and displaced more than a million people.
Citizens believe they can help curb climate change, but most say the government has the primary responsibility for limiting its negative effects.
So far, the government’s efforts on climate action receive a failing grade from Nigerians, who say that key stakeholders – including business and industry, developed countries, and ordinary citizens, in addition to the government – need to do a lot more to limit climate change.
Only 3 in 10 Nigerians (30%) say they have heard of climate change (Figure 1).
Among those who are aware of climate change:
Two-thirds (66%) say it is making life worse, a 24-percentage-point increase since 2020 (Figure 2).
Seven in 10 believe that ordinary citizens can help curb climate change (69%) and say that the government needs to take immediate action to limit climate change, even if it is expensive or causes some job losses or other harm to our economy (71%) (Figure 3).
More than three-fourths (76%) say the government has the primary responsibility for fighting climate change and limiting its impact. Far fewer place this responsibility mainly on citizens (14%), rich or developed countries (3%), business and industry (2%), and traditional leaders (1%) (Figure 4).
But a majority (61%) say the government is performing “fairly badly” or “very badly” in handling climate change. One-fifth (20%) give the government a positive rating, while a similar proportion (19%) are undecided (Figure 5).
Strong majorities say the government (85%), business and industry (75%), developed countries (73%), and citizens (58%) “need to do a lot more” to limit climate change (Figure 6).
Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan survey research network that provides reliable data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life. Eight survey rounds in up to 39 countries have been completed since 1999. Round 9 surveys (2021/2022) are currently underway. Afrobarometer’s national partners conduct face-toface interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice.
The Afrobarometer team in Nigeria, led by NOIPolls, interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,600 adult citizens in March 2022. A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin of error of +/-2.5 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. Previous surveys were conducted in Nigeria in 1999, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2017, and 2020. Charts
Figure 1: Awareness of climate change | Nigeria | 2022
Respondents were asked: Have you heard about climate change, or haven’t you had the chance to hear about this yet?
Figure 2: Effect of climate change | Nigeria | 2017-2022
Respondents who say they have heard of climate change were asked: Do you think climate change is making life in Nigeria better or worse, or haven’t you heard enough to say? (Respondents who are not aware of climate change are excluded.
Figure 3: Limiting climate change | Nigeria | 2022
Respondents who say they have heard of climate change were asked: For each of the following statements, please tell me whether you disagree or agree:
Ordinary Nigerians can play a role in limiting climate change.
It is important for our government to take steps now to limit climate change in the future, even if it is expensive or causes some job losses or other harm to our economy.
(Respondents who are not aware of climate change are excluded.)
Figure 4: Who has primary responsibility for limiting climate change | Nigeria | 2022
Respondents who say they have heard of climate change were asked: Who do you think should have primary responsibility for trying to limit climate change and reduce its impact? (Respondents who are not aware of climate change are excluded.)
Figure 5: Government performance in handling climate change | Nigeria | 2022
Respondents were asked: How well or badly would you say the current government is handling the following matters, or haven’t you heard enough to say?
Figure 6: Are stakeholders doing enough to limit climate change? | Nigeria | 2022
Respondents who say they have heard of climate change were asked: Do you think each of the following are doing enough to limit climate change, or do they need to do more, or haven’t you heard enough to say? (Respondents who are not aware of climate change are excluded.)
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