At a time when the World Health Organisation, WHO, ranked Onitsha, the commercial nerve-center of Anambra state, as the most polluted city in the world, the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP has named Nigeria’s South-East as the most human security secure geopolitical zone in Nigeria.
This was contained in the National Human Development Report for Nigeria, 2016, which added that Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja is the safest city to live in Nigeria as it ranks low in the Human Security Index.
The UNDP defined Human Security as safety from chronic threats such as hunger, disease and repression as well as protection from sudden and harmful disruptions in patterns of daily life whether in homes, jobs or communities.
The Economic Adviser, UNDP Nigeria, Mr. Ojijo Odhiambo, said at the launching of the report in Abuja on Friday that the North-East and the North-West remain the most affected areas in Nigeria
According to the report which further highlights the existing gap in human security across the geopolitical zones of the country; “the most human security secure geopolitical zone is the South-East while the North-West and the North-East geopolitical zones are the least human security secured, with residents of the Federal Capital Territory being the worst in most realms of the Human Security Index.
“The North-East region of the country has been the most affected by the more than five-yearlong military insurgency. It also remains among the least developed parts of the country.”
Meanwhile the WHO, in a report on Global Urban Ambient Air Pollution, held that Onitsha has about 30 times more than the recommended small and fine particulate matter, PM.
Kaduna was listed 5th, while Aba and Umuahia – both in Abia state – came 6th and 16th respectively, leaving with Nigeria the highest number among the 20 most polluted cities in the world.
The organization stated that it has monitored 3000 cities in 103 countries in the past two years and has found that globally, air pollution, has risen by eight per cent in the last five years.
It measured the level of pollution by the amount of “small and fine particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) during the five-year period of 2008-2013.
“PM10 and PM2.5 include pollutants such as sulfate, nitrates and black carbon, which penetrate deep into the lungs and into the cardiovascular system,” the report read.
The rise in air pollution has caused a rise in “the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma, increases for the people who live in them”.
WHO says people in low income countries are the worst hit by air pollution.
According to the organization, “More than 80% of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution are exposed to air quality levels that exceed WHO limits.
“While all regions of the world are affected, populations in low-income cities are the most impacted. According to the latest urban air quality database, 98% of cities in low- and middle income countries with more than 100 000 inhabitants do not meet WHO air quality guidelines. However, in high-income countries, that percentage decreases to 56%.”