…Says Nigeria must join climate economy or be left in darkness
By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
As Nigeria joins the rest of the globe to save the planet with the signing of the law to guide Climate change operations by President Muhammadu Buhari, the sponsor of the bill, Mr. Sam Onuigbo, has said that the country stands at the threshold of prosperity and greatness with the coming into effect of the legislation.
Onuigbo, who represents Ikwuano/Umuahia North/Umuahia South Federal Constituency of Abia State, spoke at a news briefing in Abuja on Wednesday a week after Mr. President assented to the Climate Change Act, which he sponsored as a member of the House of Representatives.
The bill, which Buhari signed into law on November 18, 2021, provides clear and unambiguous legal framework upon which Nigeria’s climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts will be based and highlights the country’s seriousness towards saving the environment as an oil-producing country with high levels of fossil fuels, fingered as a top pollutant of the environment.
Onuigbo said: “It is important to note that the Climate Change Act makes provisions for the constitution of a National Council on Climate Change headed by the President, with members including Ministers of relevant Ministries, Chairman of the Governors’ Forum, President of ALGON, National Security Adviser, representatives of the youths, persons living with disabilities, women, climate-related NGOs, the private sector, etc.
“The all-encompassing nature of the composition of the council is to ensure that the voices of all are heard. The high-level nature of the council is intentional. Climate Change is a serious issue which demands the highest level of attention— the type that will elicit serious responses.
“The Act further sets up the Climate Change Fund to be administered by the Council. This fund will be channeled towards adaptation efforts, support for innovations that will lead to de-carbonization, investments into green economy, support for nature-based solutions and the Great Green Wall Initiative, and many more. It also sets a net zero emissions target for the country while setting up five-yearly carbon budgets and annual carbon targets. There are also provisions for proper oversight on Nigeria’s Climate Change efforts by the National Assembly and a communication process that is time-bound, and public.
“The first part of a very important journey has been done. Proper implementation demands full attention and action by all of us. Together, and only together, can we realize our objectives and set our country on the path of an important transition to green and sustainable economy. Make no mistakes about it, the world is transiting and we must join or wake up in a few decades an impoverished and uninhabitable country with stranded assets.
“By the climate change enactment therefore, Nigeria has joined frontline nations of the world which have taken deliberate and sure steps towards retrieving the planet from our reckless past and saving it for generations yet unborn. This historic development is already creating positive vibes for Nigeria in the international community and is surely a colourful contribution to the global stature of Africa’s most populous country and host to the world’s largest contribution of black people.
“I want to state that the climate change law will put Nigerians on their toes and produce positive results for the country. Indeed, if Nigeria plans well, its fossil fuel-dependent economy would be transformed into a blue economy and prosper everyone.
“But the transition from fossil to blue economy must be fair, transparent and have a human face to ensure its success,” the Abia federal lawmaker cautioned.
Onuigbo praised President Buhari for seeing the importance of the bill to the development of Nigeria and assenting to it just a few days after the global conference on Climate Change in Glasgow.
Onuigbo also lauded the leadership of the National Assembly and his colleagues who stood by him to ensure the processing of the bill into an important piece of legislation in Nigeria with global impact.