Image copyright Irbis Image caption The graveyard is only one of many man-made structures being washed away by the Lagos sea
As the map below shows, Nigeria was among the biggest financial contributors to the Green Climate Fund in the late 1990s, but as donor countries face the great task of trying to pay for their post-2020 commitments, the state has started to pull back.
Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, many Nigerians lived a life that is taking its toll on the planet and soon, the coastal city of Port Harcourt could join other coastal cities like Hobart and New York.
“We know what is going on, but it just so happens that when people think about it, they prefer to ignore it,” says Ismael Ejike, who teaches at the University of Port Harcourt and is an expert on climate change.
He describes the situation as a slow-motion disaster. While countries wrangle over who should pay for the climate crisis, a community on Lagos Island is being swallowed by the sea.
Image copyright Irbis Image caption But this cemetery has stood for a few hundred years and provides inspiration for a different way of thinking about green space and climate change
“As sea levels continue to rise and more wetlands disappear, the city will be completely submerged.”
“After the Gulf of Guinea Hurricane, there is no evidence that we are stopping, just that we are managing the pace at which we are losing the coastline.”
Since the 2017 hurricane that hit Nigeria’s oil-rich southeast coast, nearly a hundred towns and communities, including most of the coastal communities along the Niger river delta, have had to evacuate.
Image copyright Irbis Image caption But the city of Port Harcourt could join other coastal cities like Hobart and New York that are already experiencing massive beach erosion
“Five-hundred households were moved from 4,000 households that were moved earlier in 2017,” says Mr Ejike.
Port Harcourt residents have long used the beaches around the city for recreational, religious and social events, but as the water rises, the day is getting shorter and the beach recedes.
In part, Mr Ejike says, this could be linked to the long-term effect of a 15-year-old dam along the Niger river, and oil drilling, both of which emit sulphur dioxide that drives up the level of the sea.
“But the flood management strategy we have employed is weak,” says Mr Ejike.
“The political will to invest in community resilience programmes has not been there.”
Image copyright Irbis Image caption Many Nigerians moved away from the coast during a wet season in the 1970s but say the government’s lack of money to move people has been keeping them on land
So people have been attempting to mitigate against the arrival of the rising sea. In the port city of Warri, people are already living by the banks of the river, and swimmers can easily avoid the high floodwaters.
But some residents say the uncertainty about their future haunts them. On a bus trip up to Port Harcourt, some people on the trip told me it would take decades before they could even move back to the coast.
“For decades, people have been going away from the coast, and now we are stuck in the middle,” said Pastor Dakuku Peterside, a Christian evangelist who is supporting efforts to move people by offering legal support, but says he “feels compassion for those who can’t help themselves”.
“They are adults and they know what they want,” he said. “I just hope they can find their way to the shore.”
Image copyright Irbis Image caption Many poor families try to stay by the banks of the river, a few meters away from the water, but swimmers can dodge the high floodwaters
Pastor Peterside is part of the Lagos Legal Defence and Assistance Project, which helps residents who are pushing for relocation.
“If we leave our towns and neighbourhoods like they have been going for a long time, we do not have the luxury of time,” he said.
“I have started organising. I am organising now that there is a faultline. I know it is too late for this point but let’s fight now because there is no hope.”
Check out more detail about the Nigerian projects funded by the Green Climate Fund here
*Derelict artist’s impression of the future state of Africa’s richest city by Guardian graphics