National Council on Environment Recommends Ban on Charcoal Export

 The National Council on Environment (NCE) has recommended a ban on the exportation of charcoal in Nigeria and that an alternative clean source of energy should be developed and promoted. Bennett Oghifo reports
The recommended ban on charcoal export was reached by participant at the 11th National Council on Environment, who explained that “the current Forest Cover of Nigeria is less than 4% as against the expected 25%.”
The NCE, which is the highest decision making congregation in the country was held at June 12 Cultural Centre, Abeokuta Ogun State, recently.
A total of 712 participants from 23 States, including State Commissioners for Environment; Forestry; Permanent Secretaries; Director General/CEOs of Agencies; Directors of MDAs; Officials of Federal and State Ministries of Environment; Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs); Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Development Partners attended the 3-day meeting.
The Council considered 83 memoranda, stepped down 16, and recommended 67 consisting of 38 action and 29 information memoranda.
The Council deliberated extensively on all the memoranda and noted the emerging environmental issues, climate smart actions and the need to update all relevant environmental regulations, as well as immediate commencement of the implementation of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for all policies, plans and programmes in Nigeria.
Accordingly, the Council resolved that Federal Ministry of Environment should step up actions toward synergy with relevant MDAs through Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) in order to resolve serious challenges of overlap, conflict and duplication of regulatory roles.
That the Federal Government should put in place policies and other measures to promote provision and utilisation of Solar Energy and energy efficient cook stove. That there should be synergy between the Federal and State Governments in the implementation of climate change programmes especially on capacity building and access to global climate finance.
The Council also stated that States should be encouraged to put in place Waste-to- Wealth programmes/initiatives that can attract private sector participations and foreign direct investment in order to unlock investment opportunities in the waste management sub- sector. That State Governments should provide security for Federal Ministry of Environment projects under implementation in their States to prevent vandalization and also fulfill their obligations as agreed.
It resolved that the Federal Ministry of Environment should domesticate Minamata Convention on Mercury and other Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) ratified by Nigeria. That the Federal Ministry of Environment and States should establish reliable electronic based data bank on Pollution Control and Waste Management issues in the country.
That Flood Early Warning Systems (FEWS) in flood prone areas should be installed by Federal, States and Local Governments to save lives and property during flooding.
That States that have indicated interest to key into the NEWMAP Programme should put aside minimum counterpart fund of N500 million, provide 12.90% of total cost of the project as well as provide base line data of erosion sites in their States. And that more awareness and sensitisation should be carried out to achieve better adoption of Tree planting and reforestation of degraded forest estates.
The 11th National Council on Environment (NCE), with the theme ‘Unlocking the Investment Opportunities in the Environment Sector Towards Nigeria’s Economic Recovery, Diversification, Growth and Sustainable Development,’ was chaired by the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibril.
The opening ceremony featured presentation of welcome address by the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Environment, Dr. Shehu M. U. Ahmed, goodwill messages by the wife of the Governor of Ogun State, Dr. (Mrs.) Olufunso Amosu, the Representative of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment, Sen. Magnus Ngei Abe and the Chairman House Committee on Climate Change, Hon. Samuel Onuigbo, as well as from the Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly, Hon. Suraj Adekunbi. The session also featured remarks by the Minister of State for Environment Ibrahim Usman Jibril.
The Council meeting was declared open by the Executive Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosu, who delivered the Keynote address.