Reps, stakeholders move to save Nigeria from climate change impacts
LAWMAKERS have assured that adequate legislative provisions would be in budgetary allocations to address the impacts of climate change and save the future generation of Nigerians.
A meeting was held recently between the House of Representatives Committee on Climate Change and officials of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), to exchange ideas, experiences and also to chart a reliable course on how to tackle devastations in the country occasioned by climate change.
Chairman of the Committee, Sam Onuigbo said the purpose is to enable the House panel to know the concrete and verifiable preparations the MDAs have made towards achieving the Paris Agreement objective of stabilizing the concentrations of climate change damaging emissions in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous impact on environment and humans.
Recall that President Mohammadu Buhari has already set the pace and the tone on climate change governance through his declarations at national and global fora. But the committee says going forward, the parliament is further seeking to address the questions as to: what the MDAs are doing, what practical steps they have taken towards actualizing the Presidential and national commitments?
Chairman of the Committee, Sam Onuigbo said the National Assembly is constitutionally vested with the power to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of the federation, hence the lower chamber will not sit idly by and wait for the train to leave the station before it starts asking questions.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed who spoke at the beginning of the session, blamed the rise in the activities of Boko Haram in the north east as well as the recurrent clashes between herdsmen and local farmers to the effect of climate change in the country.
Addressing the stakeholders, Onuigbo explained that the meeting was therefore to interact, ascertain the impact of climate change in the work of the MDAs in view of the negative effects “vigorously and violently confronting and almost overpowering human survival efforts and threatening the earth.”
He said further that the mission of the House committee on climate change will be to, through legislative intervention in line with the House of Representatives’ Legislative Agenda, promote resource allocation to climate-friendly programmes that have the potential to enhance Nigeria’s resilience to climate impact across all the economic sectors.
Underscoring the importance of legislative intervention, the Chairman has assured that the committee is determined to re-strategize on climate change governance in order to harmonize national efforts towards delivering on the country’s commitments.
According to him, the committee will evaluate previous efforts towards climate change impact awareness, mitigation and adaptation, challenges associated with previous efforts; budgetary provisions to improve on the efforts; and need for more integrated approach to climate change project design and implementation.
In doing this, he said it might be necessary to reconsider the 2016 budget proposal submitted by the MDAs to accommodate some of the new challenges, especially as they affect the national contributions.
Members who spoke during the interaction said reconsideration of the budget 2016 proposals is particularly necessary to identify likely policy and budgetary gaps and to lay foundation for the actualization of the overall aim of the contributions. The meeting, according to the members, was therefore essentially designed for the stakeholders to strategically progress from the current mandate-defined efforts to new and collaborative initiatives for lowering emissions.
But, the committee chairman expressed concern that the parliamentary intervention provided by the House of Representatives may not translate to reality if the seeming apathy as shown by authorities of some critical MDAs and other stakeholders continue.
Specifically, some of the critical stakeholders including the ministers of Petroleum Resources, Agriculture and Rural Development, Communication Technology, Health, Solid Minerals, and Women Affairs, were absent at the interactive session seeking urgent intervention to tackle the effects of climate change devastation.
Others who shunned the meeting were Bank of Industries (BOI), Bank of Agriculture (BOA), NAFDAC, PTDF, USAID, DFID, Water Resources Budget and National Planning where absent during the meeting with the climate change panel.
Meanwhile, the committee has called for increased funding for the relevant agencies addressing the issues of climate change, even as he stressed the need for increased awareness on climate change mitigation.
He said: “After a conference of 196 nations in Paris, France reached an agreement on how to limit global warming to the pre-industrial age of 2 Celsius and the negative impacts of climate change, we are here to exchange ideas, experiences and also to chart a reliable course on how to save this and future generations.”