The Make Kano Green youth group was formed in 2019 with the aim of improving the Nigerian state's vegetation cover. / Photo: Make Kano Green

By Mazhun Idris

Temperatures in Nigeria's northern state of Kano, a largely semi-arid area, can get unbearably high.

The state's commissioner for health Abubakar Yusuf recently said that the intense heat in Kano in March, April, May, and June often "brings about so many health complications."

Over the last month, temperatures there have been as high as 45 degrees Celsius, with the atmospheric air described as "very dry."

The state is sandwiched by the Sahel savannah to the north and the Guinea savannah to the south.

Heat stroke

Heat cramps, exhaustion and heat stroke are some of the illnesses caused by high temperatures.

Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat illness, which can be life-threatening. It occurs when the body's heat-regulating system is overwhelmed by excessive heat.

A 2023 report by Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center (Arsht-Rock), said that thousands of women in Nigeria were at risk of succumbing to heat-related illnesses.

The report estimated that some 204,000 women in Nigeria, the US and India could suffer fatal heat stroke.

Calls for environmental conservation in Nigeria have increased as climate change effects continue to affect millions of people in the country. / Photo: Make Kano Green

Thousands of trees

Aware of the dangers that heatwaves pose to millions of people in Nigeria, a youth group in Kano state called "Make Kano Green" has started a project to improve Kano's vegetation cover, and raise awareness about the need for environmental conservation.

The group was founded by environmental activists in 2019.

"We have managed to plant thousands of trees. Forty-seven percent of the trees have grown to maturity," Ismail Auwal, the Kano group's co-founder and community organiser, tells TRT Afrika.

Auwal says that seeing people huddling together under shades during the superhot days in Kano is a common sight.


The Make Kano Green group fears that if nothing is urgently done to avert further environmental degradation in Kano, the superhot days would be an almost daily occurrence.

"We are aware of the serious threat of desertification. That is why we came together to educate the people of Kano about the importance of environmental conservation, mainly afforestation," Auwal said.

The youth group aims to plant at least one million trees, not only in Kano but the rest of Nigeria in 2024.

Auwal however says this would only be possible through the help of like-minded volunteers and partner organisations.

Large parts of Kano state in northern Nigeria are semi-arid in nature. / Photo: Make Kano Green

Transcended Kano's borders

"Our environmental conservation campaign has now transcended Kano's borders. We have a presence in 12 Nigerian states, including Kebbi, Zamfara, Katsina and Nasarawa," he said.

Auwal's message as the globe marks the World Environment Day on Wednesday, June 5 is that environmental conservation is the duty of each person, and that inaction over climate change can only worsen the crisis.

Other parts of Africa, including East and Southern Africa, have experienced flooding, tornados, cyclones and severe drought attributed to climate change effects. As a result, hundreds of people have lost their lives.

The World Environment Day, led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is celebrated annually on June 5 since 1973.

'Making peace with land'

The day is celebrated by millions of people across the world, whose theme is "land restoration, desertification and drought resilience."

Saudi Arabia will play host to the 2024 edition of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), in December.

"We cannot turn back time, but we can grow forests, revive water sources, and bring back soils. We are the generation that can make peace with land," UNEP says.

TRT Afrika