Dryland smallholders are faced with the challenges of achieving resilience and agricultural sustainability. This is in addition to constraints such as lack of capital, inputs, and often poor extension services. The risk of extreme weather events poses a great challenge to food security in drylands as the impacts of climate change increases. This paper examines the challenges faced by smallholders and the limitations of traditional farming systems in Sudano-Sahelian zones amidst climate change and emerging armed conflicts with special focus on the Sudano-Sahelian Nigerian drylands. The review reports three key findings as follows: first, smallholders have been active in managing short-term environmental risks and challenges by using local knowledge to improve production and short-term resilience. Secondly, concerns about potential longer-term climatic changes such as longer droughts, desertification, the impact of the drying of the Lake Chad, armed conflicts and extreme weather events could hinder resilience. Third, an increasing rainfall variability, soil/nutrient degradation and farming systems adopted could limit or undermine resilience strategies, especially if new environmental challenges exceed those previously experienced. This review suggests a need for additional research into innovative drylands’ sustainability and resilience practices in response to a changing climate linked to other social challenges.