Climate Change Act: Rep. Onuigbo tasks Nigerians on roles in advancing implementation
Rep. Sam Onuigbo, Member representing Ikwuano Umuahia Federal Constituency of Abia State, and Chairman of Climate Parliament Nigeria says efforts geared towards the implementation of the Climate Change Act must come from all well-meaning Nigerians.
Rep. Onuigbo recounted on the painstaking efforts of his indefatigable team in ensuring that the country has a legal framework on Climate Change, as he expressed gratitude to all and sundry for the height of success as attained so far, hence the country has a legal framework on Climate Change.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing into law, the Act on November 17, 2021, as the document, he boasted had eventually become a document for all Nigerians “hence efforts towards its implementation must come from all of us.”
The ebullient Lawmaker spoke during a Two-day Capacity Building Workshop on the Climate Change Act, organised by Climate Parliament, at Reiz Continental Hotel, Abuja, on June 15-16, 2022.
In his remarks, Onuigbo thanked participants at the workshop, pointing out that the two-day event did not only “focus on the Climate Change Act as a legal framework, but also on several aspects of the Act, and increasingly, what roles we can all play in advancing its implementation”, he said.
He, however, regretted that the Act had not been implemented despite being signed into Law by Mr. President since the previous year, irrespective of inauguration of the Council.
Speaking, he said:
“Nigeria’s loudest statements on climate change were the country setting 2060 to attain net zero and Mr. President signing the Climate Change Act. To see the Act not being implemented with the inauguration of the Council even when there is a clear timeline for certain things to be done, as stipulated in the Act, should be a source of concern to Nigerians.
“For instance, Section 19(2) of the Act mandates that the Federal Ministry of Environment in consultation with the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning must present the pilot carbon budget to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) through the National Council on Climate Change, not later than one year from the date of assent to the Bill. That automatically means that the pilot carbon budget must be presented on or before November 16, 2022. In the same vein, the Federal Ministry of Environment and the Secretariat of the National Council on Climate Change are mandated by Section 20 to develop the five-yearly Action Plan for the realization of the carbon budget. Section 20(2) mandates that the first Action Plan must be ready within one year of assent to the Bill. It is important to note that Section 20(3) mandates that before the Action Plan is presented to the Council and FEC, it must be made public for eight weeks (culminating 14 days before the date of presentation to the Council) for the public to review. It is therefore time to inaugurate the Council for proper coordination of our Climate Change efforts.”
Furthermore, he hinted that, “Climate Parliament, over the years, has led constructive conversations on climate change and most importantly, renewable energy provisions for energy-poor countries like ours. This idea metamorphosed into the launch of the Green Grids Initiative by Prime Ministers Mordi of India and Johnson of Britain on November 2, 2021, during COP26 at Glasgow. The idea is not to only tackle the climate change menace, but to also address our energy problems by proffering sustainable and clean alternatives.
Continuing, Odozio-Obodo said: “Prior to this launch, Climate Parliament had played a very critical role in the final draft of the Climate Change Act, while also engaging several Nigerian legislators on the path to toe in engendering clean energy production and distribution that is cheap. To firmly plant their feet in the country and underline their unwavering support, they have established an office at the National Assembly to help push these humane, Nigeria-focused, and sustainable dreams through. For this, we must all applaud them.
He, therefore, appealed to the International Community to consider investing in Nigeria’s renewable energy sub-sector, stressing that such would help in providing a lasting solution to the country’s energy problem.
- “Let me use this medium to call on the International Community with private finance to come and invest in Nigeria’s renewable energy sub-sector as a way of helping to solve Nigeria’s energy problem. The time to take advantage of the massive investment opportunity is now. Which is why we advise them not to repeat the mistakes made by some of them during the privatisation of the telecommunications sub-sector.
“While time is not on our side, I am glad that these conversations are holding. The conversations must draw attention to the urgency of the situation and why we must act now.
“Already, from Osun to Abia, Rivers to Abuja, students and pupils have begun to lend their voices to this call. May we as their parents not fail them.”