By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA-Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has asked the federal government to develop the capacity to tackle the menace of climate change and protect the ecosystems.
Gbajabiamila made the call yesterday while launching the Globe Legislators Advancing REDD+ and Natural Capital Governance towards the delivery of the 2030 Agenda, a GLOBE-UNEP-GEF project at the National Assembly.
He said that the national assembly had the task of evolving strategies and laws to adequately address issues of climate change and environmental degradation in the country.
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He said “I am convinced by the scientific evidence before us, and the lived experience of many of our citizens across the country, that developing and implementing a robust strategy to holistically address the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation so as to build a sustainable future for our country, is one of the most important responsibilities we hold as leaders and legislators at this moment in our history”.
The speaker added that “this is a concern that we share across the Federal Government of Nigeria, in the executive and legislature, and is the reason why we have jointly determined to make coordinated and sustained efforts to develop policy, pass legislation and implement plans and projects expressly intended to protect our environment and achieve sustainable economic growth and national development.
“It is in this space, that GLOBE Legislators Advancing REDD+ Project which we have gathered here to launch today has the opportunity and I believe, the ability to make the most impact and to do so quickly, because the challenges we face grow direr by the day even as the space to take necessary action to avert the worst possible consequences continues to contract rapidly”.
In his welcome remarks, vice president (Africa) Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE) international and president GLOBE Nigeria, Hon. Samuel Onuigbo (PDP, Abia) disclosed that the project, which is co-implemented by two other African countries- Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo is aimed at reducing emissions from degradation, deforestation and conservation while pushing for awareness and legislations that promote natural capital accounting in our national development plans.
He lamented that it was an established fact that “one of the drivers of the Boko Haram menace and the farmers-herders clashes in parts of Nigeria and West Africa is directly linked to the drying up of the Lake Chad and the encroachment of the desert into savannah vegetation”
Onuigbo advised that as desertification is racing down in the north, including Nigeria’s northern neighbours, “the need to plant millions of trees and build a Great Green Wall from Adamawa to Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe up to Zamfara state has become urgent and important”
Also in his remarks, the chief operating officer and programme director of GLOBE International Secretariat, Brussels, Mr Rafael Jimenez-Aybar said the launch of the GLOBE-UNEP-GEF project simultaneously in Nigeria and Senegal will attract the commitment of international bodies to partner with Nigerian stakeholders to achieve the goals of REDD+, the Great Green Wall of the Sahara and Sahel region, and other sustainable development issues.