President Muhammadu Buhari, Wednesday, inaugurated the President, Nigerian Youth Congress, NYC, Comrade Blessing Akinlosotu, as a member of the National Council on Climate Change alongside others.
The inauguration ceremony, which took place at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, was witnessed the setting up of the agenda for effective and efficient operation of the council.
Buhari during the inauguration stated that the council would be chaired by him, with the Vice President as Vice Chairman.
The Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, is also a member.
Other members of the Council are the Ministers responsible for Environment; Petroleum Resources; Budget and National Planning; Justice; Mines and Steel Development; Finance; Agriculture and Rural Development; Power; Women Affairs; Transportation; and Water Resources.
The Governor of Central Bank; the National Security Adviser; President of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria; a representative of the private sector on climate change or environmental related matters (representative of National Conservation Foundation); a representative of National Council of Women Societies; a representative of Nigerian Youth Congress, and a representative of the Civil Society Organisation are also members of the Council.
The President also directed the Attorney General and Minister of Justice with the Minister of Environment to initiate appropriate amendments to ”noticeable implementation challenges” inherent in the Act.
Highlighting the losses and damages caused by the recent increasing floods in several parts of the country as well as Pakistan, Bangladesh, and other parts of East and Southern Africa, Buhari described climate change as one of the greatest challenges facing humanity.
”Climate Change is complex and dynamic; requires multidimensional and multi-sectoral initiatives to address its impacts and avert its rapid advance.
Updated data show increases in sea level rise, heat waves, wildfires, floods, desertification, drying wetlands, and many more disruptive climate occurrences.
”The latest Intergovernmental Panel on climate change report warns that rising Green House Gas emissions could soon outstrip the ability of communities to adapt, and the window for taking decisive steps needed to spare our planet from the gravest impacts of climate change is rapidly narrowing.
”We cannot ignore what is happening in our local environment. The increasing re-occurrence of floods in several parts of the country are a wake-up call,” he said, lamenting the loss of lives, damage, and destruction of infrastructures such as roads, bridges, schools, and agricultural production.
Buhari, therefore, reiterated the determination of his administration to strengthen the national response to climate change and accelerate the implementation of decisive actions to reduce its impacts on the people and economy.
He reaffirmed that Nigeria is a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is an established international treaty to combat “dangerous human interference with the climate system”, in part by stabilising Green House Gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
”It is against this background that in November 2021, after COP 26 in Glasgow, I signed the Nigeria Climate Change Act despite noticeable implementation challenges inherent in the Act, to set the framework for mainstreaming climate change action, carbon budgeting, and the establishment of the National Council on Climate Change.
”The council is tasked with the responsibility of formulating appropriate policies and other mechanisms for achieving low Green House Gas emissions, including green growth and sustainable economic development for Nigeria.
”In a clear demonstration of our commitments as enshrined in our Nationally Determined Contributions and the Net Zero-Target by 2060, I also approved, on 25th July 2022, the appointment of the Director General and Secretary for the National Council on Climate Change.
”It is imperative therefore that those lapses earlier alluded to – which include the establishment of states and Zonal offices creating a huge and costly bureaucracy, are not acceptable. The Act also takes out the Commissioners of Environments from the states as members of the Council, it also did not make transitional provisions capturing the work of the Inter-ministerial Working Group.
”This group was responsible for Energy Transition, the supervisory oversight of the Ministry of Environment, and the establishment of an Executive Management structure at the secretariat level to support the DG in running the Council Secretariat.
”Accordingly, I hereby direct the Attorney General and Minister of Justice with the Minister of Environment to initiate the appropriate amendment to reflect these observations.”
Ahead of COP27 in Sharm El Shiekh, Egypt, the President expressed the optimism that the National Council on Climate Change would harmonise all issues relating to Climate Change, Energy Transition Plan, Emissions Trading Scheme, and the Carbon Trading Framework, in line with its mandate under the Act, so that Nigeria can have a robust and impactful outing that captures Nigeria’s Climate Change priorities.
He said the composition of the council is a reflection of the magnitude of the problem and the seriousness of our response, adding that it comprises the highest level of governance and a representation of all key sectors of the economy.
President Buhari also used the occasion to thank the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo for heading Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan, presiding over the global launch of the plan, and initiating its marketing by engaging key stakeholders in the United States.
He urged the Council to consolidate on these first steps and ensure sustained marketing of the plan.
The Minister of Environment, Barrister Mohammed Abdullahi, thanked the president for ”walking the talk” on climate change at the international, regional and national level, demonstrating immense leadership towards Nigeria’s quest for net-zero by 2060.
“The Director-General of the National Council on Climate Change, Dr. Salisu Dahiru, will serve as Secretary”, Buhari added.
Speaking with journalists shortly after the inauguration, Akinlosotu assured Nigerians of his commitment as he thanked Buhari, Minister of Environment and Dr. Nasir Adhama, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Youth and Students Affairs for the opportunity given him to serve the nation in such a capacity.
“My gratitude to Mr. President, Muhammed Buhari GCFR for this great honour. My special appreciation to my boss and mentor, Barrister Mohammed H. Abdullahi, Minister of Environment and Dr. Nasir Adhama, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Youth and Students Affairs”, he said.