Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Climate Change, Hon. Sam Onuigbo has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to quickly grant assent to the newly-passed Climate Change bill as part of efforts to restore security to Nigeria.
Onuigbo, speaking with newsmen in Abuja recently, reiterated the position of several environmental experts that the consequences of climate change have exacerbated the insecurity in Nigeria.
Signing the bill, which was recently passed into law by the eighth assembly, is therefore imperative to provide a legal framework for collaborative efforts, to checkmate the threat posed to Nigeriaâ€™s stability, by climate change, he said.
â€œWe must continue to stress that harmful events and activities such as gas flaring, bush burning, oil spillage, drought, desertification, floods, gully and coastal erosions, famines, damage to critical infrastructure which still occur in Nigeria, undoubtedly destroy the environment, ultimately affect the climate and threaten development across all sectors of our national economy and the security of lives and property,â€ he said.
Onuigbo, who is also Vice President of Global Legislators Organisation for Balanced Environment (GLOBE) added that the frequent clashes between farmers and herdsmen, which is claiming several lives across the country, with its threat to food security, is fallout of the devastating effects of climate change.
â€œClimate change has security implications, what it is costing us now in terms of human life is by far more than what it would have cost us if we had treated the issues urgently. We all watched Lake Chad receding; between 8 and 10 million people depend on the lake, and some of them do not have any other skills aside those skills dependent on the water.
â€œAs the Lake dried up from 25000 square miles in the 1960s, to about 2500 square miles today, it has led to loss of livelihood for many, involuntary migration, low food production and disturbing rise on insecurity in the North-east region and across Nigeria,â€ he explained.
Speaking further, the lawmaker accused heads of agencies, whose mandates relate to climate change of inaction, to reverse the effects of the scourge. He noted that several of them shun invitations meant to interface on climate change issues, with the National Assembly and at other stakeholdersâ€™ fora.
â€œThey are however quick to travel with Mr. President to climate change events for declarations, but when you invite them for discussion on these issues they travelled for, they are nowhere to be found. Prominent people, you ask them to show evidence of the practicality of what they are doing, they cannot,â€ Onuibgo lamented.
Onuigbo, representing Ikwuano/Umuahia North/South federal constituency of Asia state, is sponsor of the bill named â€œan Act to Provide a Legal Framework for the Mainstreaming of Climate Change Responses and Actions into Government Policy Formulation and Implementation and the Establishment of the National Climate Change Council and other related matters.â€
The bill when signed into law is expected to ensure Nigeria meets her international climate change obligations, including Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), international treaties and agreements, under the United Nations Framework Conventions on Climate Change, including the Paris Agreement.
It is also expected to ensure that Nigeria pursues sustainable economic development that fosters the availability of clean energy, while also ensuring that strategic climate change responses are consistent with national development priorities, in conformity with the stipulations of the 1999 constitution.