By Michael Olugbode
Minister of Environment, Dr. Muhammad Abubakar has called for the transformation of the food system to aid rejuvenation of soils and forest covers.
Speaking at the 14th National Council of Environment virtually held with the theme: “Managing Emerging Environmental Challenges: Need for Strategic Approach to Sustainable Development in Covid-19 Era and Beyond,” the Minister said: “There is urgent need to transform our food system which has been the major factor in the issue of loss of biodiversity, fresh water and deforestation with its attendant effects on climate change. It is therefore, expected that pertinent issues of climate smart agriculture and agro ecological practices that will aid rejuvenation of soils and forest covers, among others,are discussed during this meeting.”
He noted that giant strides were achieved in the sector since the last Council meeting.
He said. “I am pleased to report that steady and modest progress is being made in accomplishing relevant goals related to the development of the sector, in alignment with the resolutions of the past Council meetings.
Accordingly, the deliverables from the priority projects and programmes of the Ministry are being pursued with vigour.”
He said there are plans to accelerate implementation of the Ogoni clean-up;
accelerate implementation of the Great Green Wall Programme, and promote and set targets for tree planting towards meeting Mr. President’s declared commitment to planting 25 million trees in 2025.
The Minister also said there are plan to prioritize and enforce the implementation of the Gas Flare (prevention of waste and pollution) Regulations, 2018; the extended producer responsibility framework and implementation of a comprehensive programme on the domestic use of liquefied petroleum gas.
He said the Ministry is working with the National Assembly to promote the passage of relevant legislation on recycling waste and restrictions on the use of plastics and wood-fuel in line with global agreements; and actively collaborate with the private sector to create a large number of well-paying jobs for Nigerian Youths; and implement
a strategy towards the realization of Mr President’s June 12 promise to take 100 Million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.
He said it was important for him to re-emphasize the need for dispassionate discussion on the memoranda presented, in order to maintain clear focus towards combating our numerous ecosystem challenges with a view to maximally optimise the developmental potentials of the sector, particularly now and in the post COVID-19 era.
On her part, the Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor said she has no iota of doubt that the Council meeting will foster cross fertilization of ideas on best practices and policies that will enable the nation concertedly address her wide range of environmental issues, through resourceful deliberations, networked knowledge management and information exchange, as well as produce outcomes that other African countries could learn from.