Climate law needs operationalisation to achieve nation’s development goals, says Rep. Onuigbo
If Nigeria is to successfully address climate change and build a structure for sustainable growth, lawmaker, Samuel Onuigbo, has said that those in charge of planning and implementing the Climate Change Act (CCA 2021) must move quickly into action and execute some of the law’s most extreme provisions.
This is significant, according to Onuigbo who sponsored the text, which is now the nation’s legal framework on climate change, because the legislation captured all of the ecological factors endangering the country as well as solutions for how to address them to put Nigeria on the path of sustainable socio-economic advancement.
In an exclusive interview that took place at his office at the National Assembly building in Abuja, the ardent bureaucrat told EnviroNews that it was a combination of his childhood and professional experiences about how climate change had wreaked havoc on the environment that had motivated him to fight for and see that the law was finally passed.
As he described some of these encounters, he reflected on the fact that many of the locations that are now largely destroyed by erosion in the southern region, as well as by drought and desertification in the northern region, were once livable places where people lived and engaged in their peaceful activities.
In light of these setbacks as well as the growing global demand for sustainable development, Onuigbo argued that the Act needed to be operationalised for it to help the nation manage and secure the environment and provide a framework for long-term growth, as it is intended to do.
“I am happy,” he said, adding that “today we have a solid foundation in terms of achieving sustainable growth if we follow the provisions of the Act,” which are nearly all-inclusive, to ensure a sustainable and healthy environment for all.
Responding to stakeholders’ concerns about issues such as weak regulatory capacity, a lack of a well-structured communication mechanism, and an unreliable data system, the legislator revealed that he decided to make the President Chairman of the Council in the Act to address most of the worries mentioned above and eliminate the temptation of peer jealousy among implementing agencies and partners.
He expressed confidence that Nigeria can achieve its 20% reduction in emissions by 2030, as stated in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), if the council carefully adheres to the text provided in the law by effectively coordinating its activities and making sure that the ministries of Environment, Budget, and National Planning cooperate to enact an aggressive carbon regime for the nation.
The man, who is renowned as the hero of the country’s fight for climate change legislation, described Nigeria as a potential market for investments and as such, he does not doubt that when the time comes, some of the technologies and other infrastructures that are not currently in place will be rolled out to help tackle the existential threats posed by climate change.
In reaction to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warnings, he alluded to the red-flagged dossier’s warning indicators as a reminder of the expected actions that every country should be carrying out. As a result, he charged Nigeria to focus on the report’s chart, which identified solar, wind, forest conservation, energy efficiency, and methane reduction as the five main winners, to boost its optimism in confronting this ecological disaster.
He went into detail about the GLOBE-UNEP-GEF project, which was unveiled on Wednesday, November 20, 2019, at the Abuja National Assembly Complex. The project, according to the federal representative for Abia State’s Ikwuano/Umuahia North/South, has provided national legislators with the knowledge they need to understand how the Great Green Wall Initiative (GGWI) is being conducted.
He added that the adoption of a national legislative framework for the implementation of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) and the use of environmental-economic accounting as a tool for decision-making for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are dependent on nature have also been made possible by this.
Tagged “GLOBE Legislators Advancing REDD+ and Natural Capital Governance Towards the Delivery of the 2030 Agenda,” he intimated that the project’s success has attracted investors, who are pouring in with different proposals on how to achieve its targets.
Onuigbo advised Nigeria to ensure that it joins forces with other African nations to negotiate as a single bloc if the country wants to achieve its desired result at this year’s United Nations climate change conference (COP28), which will be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Also, he asked Nigeria to take lessons from the UAE, whose economy is likewise dependent on fossil fuels but has been able to invest over $100 billion in renewable energy as a reaction to the climate controversy. This is important, he stressed, so that “we can learn about what they are doing and see how it can be replicated back home.”
The eco-champion tasked the incoming administration with enacting ground-breaking measures to address all environmental challenges covered by the law and to put Nigeria on a road of continual progress.
“My appeal is that we all come together and raise awareness, even among those in government, to help position Nigeria to avert the impending climate disaster,” he asserted strongly, for the collective benefit of the planet and humanity’s victory.
By Etta Michael Bisong, Abuja