By Chijindu Emeruwa.
Member representing Ikwuano/Umuahia North/Umuahia South Federal Constituency of Abia State in the House of Representatives, and sponsor of Nigeria’s Climate Change Act, on Wednesday, August 10, 2022, received in his office, the UK-PACT team from London, and their counterparts from the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO).
The team led by Sean Melbourne, West Africa Climate Change Lead, FCDO Nigeria, had come to hold discussions on the implementation of the Climate Change Act 2021, Nigeria’s COP27 priorities, and NDC implementation challenges and opportunities in the country.
Speaking during the meeting, Rep. Onuigbo drew the attention of the team to the ambitious nature of the Climate Change Act and stressed that religiously implementing it to the letter will not only help address Nigeria’s climate change challenges, but also serve as a solid path towards a transition to a clean and sustainable economy. He pointed out that in order to ensure that the Act has a strong bite, it stipulates that the President of Nigeria will chair the National Council on Climate Change with the Director General who heads the secretariat reporting directly to Mr. President.
On the proposed amendment of the Act which is being rumoured, Rep Onuigbo stated that there is no justifiable reason why implementation should be paused while amendment is pushed by just one Ministry amongst the several Ministries, Departments and Agencies that the Act caters for, and charged the government to proceed with implementation.
Rep. Onuigbo used the opportunity to call on UK-PACT and the UK government to see what they can do in providing technical support and capacity building across board so as to aid Nigeria in its efforts at implementing the Act.
On his part, Mr Sean Melbourne stated that the climate cannot wait for anyone hence there is need for urgent action. He stated that the UK government is intent on working with stakeholders to ensure that Nigeria’s climate action efforts go on unimpeded. He pointed out that mainstreaming of climate change action into national policy is critical.
Earlier in his speech, Joe Tyrrell, UK PACT Lead, FCDO London, provided a brief on the origin of UK-PACT and its commitment to partnering with countries like Nigeria by providing funding to address challenges identified by Nigerian stakeholders as critical to addressing climate change. In addition, the UK-PACT programme also provides trainings and technical support through its Skills Share programme.
Nigeria received worldwide acclaim when President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR signed into law on November 17, 2021, the Climate Change Bill sponsored by Rep. Sam Onuigbo. It was one of the loudest messages of intent by the Government following President Buhari’s lofty proclamation on November 2, 2021 at COP26 that Nigeria will attain net zero GHG emissions by 2060. The Climate Change Act with its provision for carbon budgeting and a National Action Plan to enforce the carbon budgets offers a clear path to attaining net zero.