President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the Minister of Environment, Mohammed Abdullahi, to review Nigeria’s Climate Change Act 2021.
Buhari premised his directive on the arguement that the piece of regulation contained lapses – including the huge cost and bureaucracy created by the establishment of states and Zonal offices.
Describing these “implementation challenges” as “unacceptable,” the President noted that the Act also takes out the Commissioners of Environments from the states as members of Council and did not make transitional provisions capturing the work of the Inter-ministerial Working Group.
According to a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari made these observations shortly before the kickoff of this week’s Federal Executive Council meeting at the State House, Abuja.
Highlighting the losses and damages caused by the recent increasing floods in several parts of the country as well in Pakistan, Bangladesh and other parts of East and Southern Africa, the President described climate change as one of the biggest challenges facing humanity.
”We cannot ignore what is happening in our local environment. The increasing re-occurrence of floods in several parts of the country is a wakeup call,” he said, lamenting the loss of lives, damage and destruction of infrastructure such as roads, bridges, schools and agricultural production.
He noted that ‘the latest Intergovernmental Panel on climate change report warns that rising GreenHouse 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.
The President, therefore, reiterated the determination of his regime 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 stabilizing GreenHouse Gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
Buhari said it is against this background that in November 2021, after COP 26 in Glasgow, he 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 responsible for formulating appropriate policies and other mechanisms for achieving low GreenHouse Gas emissions, including green growth and sustainable economic development for Nigeria.
He noted that Nigeria’s commitment as enshrined in the Nationally Determined Contributions and the Net Zero-Target by 2060, also spurred him to appoint the Director-General and Secretary for the National Council on Climate Change on July 25, 2022.
However, he frowned at some inherent malfunctions in the Act that could hinder smooth implementation.
”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 is 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,” he said.
He, therefore, directed “the Attorney General and Minister of Justice in conjunction with the Minister of Environment to initiate the appropriate amendment to reflect these observations.”
Ahead of COP27 in Sharm El Shiekh, Egypt, Buhari expressed 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 reflects the enormity of the problem and the seriousness of his regime’s response, adding that it comprises the highest level of governance and a representation of all key sectors of the economy.
Buhari also thanked Vice President 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.