UK-Based Nigerian Student Urges Buhari to Establish National Media Campaign on Climate Change

* Warns country’s climate change actions risk being relegated to the background
Peter Uzoho

A United Kingdom-based Nigerian student and Founder of Our Tomorrow Endowment, a Pan-African environmental activist organisation, Prince Emeka Obasi Jr, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to establish a national media campaign to educate Nigerians on issues of climate change in the country and their effects on the health and socio-economic lives of the people.

Obasi junior is the son of the late publisher of Business Hallmark who passed recently.
Obasi Jr also reminded the president of Nigeria’s climate change actions which he announced to the world at the 26th edition of the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP26) in November last year, in Glasgow, Scotland, warning that those actions risked being relegated to the background as no action had been taken by the government since those pronouncements were made.

In letter addressed to the president dated April 25, 2022, with the title, “On Climate Change, Your Excellency, It Is Time for Real Action”, which was sent to THISDAY, at the weekend, Obasi Jr said he was prompted to write the president owing to the need to draw his attention to the threats climate change and environmental pollution pose to Nigeria and the African continent.

He recounted that at the COP26, Buhari had during his presentation articulated the importance of global solidarity in tackling climate change and highlighted the work being done by his administration to reduce greenhouse emissions in Nigeria as well as transition towards cleaner energy.

He equally reminded President Buhari of his pledge at the COP26 that Nigeria would cut its emissions to net-zero by 2060, while also stressing the need for easier access to climate finance for developing countries, especially given the fact that Africa was only responsible for five per cent of  global emissions.

Recounting other pledges made by the president at the conference as Nigeria’s commitments to tackling climate change, Obasi Jr stated that no concrete action had been taken as a follow up to Buhari’s pronouncements, urging the president to step up action against issues threatening the environment in country and Africa.

The letter read in part, “Sadly, after the COP26 in November last year, I have not seen much follow up action and I am apprehensive that the programmes which you had eloquently canvassed stand the risk of being relegated to the background.

“I am worried because climate change and environmental pollution are too important to be treated with negligence. They are matters that have grave implications for the survival of our continent.
“They have the potential to cause a food crisis and worsen security challenges if not tackled. Therefore, the time for action is now.

“The experience I had interacting with impacted communities made me commit to doubling my effort towards creating awareness around these issues.”

He said Buhari’s, “administration must step in here and establish a national media campaign to educate Nigerians on these issues, ” adding that collaboration between the private and public sector was critical in achieving Nigeria’s net-zero emissions by 2060.

Citing the alarming impacts of environmental degradation and loss of livelihoods in Nigeria’s Niger Delta communities, particularly in Ogoni and Port Harcourt, Rivers State, as well as Lagos and the north, where people are bearing the brunt of the environmental crisis, Obasi Jr maintained that across Africa, “we are witnessing the most severe effects of climate change.”

Noting that the situation was unfortunately dire and that there was not much continental effort to tackle it, he stated that Buhari has a responsibility as the leader of the most populous African country to step up to the challenge by mobilising the entire continent and by leading the campaign against climate change and environmental pollution in Africa.

Obasi Jr, however, called on state and local governments to take the initiative and address the effects of climate change within their jurisdictions, urging the president to lead from the front in all the issues.

The founder, who explained that the organisation  was committed to creating massive awareness among Africa youths about climate change, stated that they would need the personal support of President Buhari and the Nigerian Government to achieve their objective.

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