As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate the second year of adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), civil society organisations in Nigeria are calling on the Federal, State and Local Governments to act on the SDGs.
It has been two years since September 25, 2015, when the Nigerian Government joined other United Nations world leaders to agree to a definitive plan for the planet and its people by adopting the Agenda 2030 and the 17 Goals.
The SDGs are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. In different parts of the country civil society organisations are organising events from Lagos to Benue, to Bayelsa and Abuja to mark the second anniversary.
According to the Executive Director, Nigeria Network of NGOs, Mr. Oyebisi B. Oluseyi, â€œCitizens across the country are calling attention to the many forms of inequalities everywhere/
â€œIf our governments (at all levels) donâ€™t act in time, we stand the chance of not meeting the goals and our growing pains — disparities in the incomes of the poor and the wealthy, limited access to education, health and basic social services, increasing vulnerabilities of the poorest to human-induced climate change and disasters, and the growing repression of human rights and civic participation would have exacerbated.â€
â€œOur celebration of the 2nd anniversary of the SDGs is with mixed feelings; we are glad that two years ago the world came together to care for people and the planet. It is however worrying that between then and now we have as a country witnessed increased social injustice with more people going hungry. With an estimated 184 million inhabitants in Nigeria, 112 million of these live below the poverty line; this is unacceptable and it calls for urgent action on the part of our government.
â€œNow is the time to break the cycle of poverty in our land! As President Muhammadu Buhari returns from the UN General Assembly, we want to share our concerns with him and to remind him of the urgent need to accelerate action on the implementation of the SDGs in Nigeria.
â€œWe need action at all levels. First, we need to increase awareness, then public policies that create real changes to reduce inequalities in and between states. We must also change production and consumption patterns, in order to make development sustainable for the environment and for people.
â€œWhile the Federal Government is to be commended for its social protection programme and the adoption of the national social protection policy, we hope that the programme will cover all sections of the population in need of this. With the Governmentâ€™s effort in raising revenue through taxes, we recommend fair and equitable tax system that is people-centered and devoid of multiple taxation.
â€œWomenâ€™s and girlsâ€™ rights is an important first as we move to attain the SDGs, this is the bedrock of our national development. Freedom of civil society and political participation is a critical foundation to the stakeholder partnership that is needed to attain the ambitious Agenda 2030. A shrinking civic space is bad for developmentâ€, Oluseyi added.
On his own part, Director, Justice Development and Peace Commission, Ijebu Ode, Rev. Father John Patrick, said, â€œWe remain concerned about the growing threat to the nationâ€™s peaceful co-existenceâ€. He urged all â€œas citizens to cultivate the culture of living together in unity as there is no development without peace; there is no peace without development. Now is the time to walk the talk! Letâ€™s act together!â€