Climate Change: NASS Insists On Legislative Framework.
…Resuscitation Of Lake Chad To Gulp $15bn – Lawmakers
Federal lawmakers in the National Assembly has insisted on completing their efforts at evolving a legislative framework that gives legal backing to government policies and actions towards climate change in the country.
The lawmakers made the emphasis in reaction to to variety of arguments advanced by stakeholders at a one-day public hearing on a Bill for an Act to provide for a legal framework for the main-steaming of climate change responses and actions into government policy formulation, implementation and the establishment of the national council on climate change and for other related matters”, organised by the House Committee on Climate Change.
Reiterating the collective position of the legislature on the subject matter, following divergent views expressed for and against the bill – relative to the composition of the proposed National Council on Climate Change as well as the need to have an independent agency for the task, chairman, House Committee on Climate Change, Rep. Samuel Onuigbo (PDP, Abia) told the stakeholders that Nigeria must have a legal framework on climate change.
His words: “The distinguished senator (Bukar Abba Ibrahim) who’s here and made presentation earlier will bear me witness, that the leadership of the National Assembly chaired by the Senate President (Bukola Saraki) is in conjunction with the Speaker of the House (Yakubu Dogara) on the same page on this issue that come rain or shine, this country must have a law on climate change”.
“Whatever position canvassed here however strongly does cannot change the fact that our country needs a legislative framework on climate. There might be some adjustments going by observations of stakeholders, but let’s all bear in mind that this law is coming into force and we will have a body to drive our climate change policies in Nigeria”, Onuigbo stressed.
While presentations by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), the National Population Commission as well as well as the Nigerian Labour Congress kicked against the establishment of a council with recommendations for the setting up of an agency to coordinate and implement climate related policies, the New Partnership Initiative for African Development (NEPAD) Nigeria submitted that it be charged with the responsibility of driving climate change initiative, given its network of contacts with international donors.
Support for both sides of the arguments was however encapsulated in Speaker, Yakubu Dogara’s address declaring the hearing open.
Dogara said: “The passage of this new bill will lead to the establishment of National Climate Change Agency, National Council on Climate Change and Technical Advisory Committee and also position Nigeria among countries introducing Legislations to support their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to mitigate the devastating effects of Climate Change”.
“The presentation of this Bill stems from the recent 22nd session of Conference of Parties (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco which provided an opportunity to develop an acceptable framework for implementing the Paris Agreement. A noticeable achievement of COP22 was the progress made on setting the timeline and benchmark for drafting a rule book for implementing the Paris Agreement which will guide the actions of parties with a 2018 target date”, Dogara added.
Also speaking on behalf of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, the chairman, Senate Committee on Climate Change and Ecological Fund, Bukar Abba Ibrahim said the gathering was significant and marks the beginning of action toward mitigating the negative effects of climate change in Nigeria.
“I’m not oblivious of the fact that the 6th and 7th Assemblies made attempts at providing this framework which unfortunately could not materialise. And mindful of these lessons of the past, I wish to urge us to show determination in seeing to a logical conclusion the current efforts by the 8th Assembly”, Saraki said.
In their personal intervention at the hearing, both Senator Ibrahim and Rep. Aliyu Hamman-Patigi (APC, Kwara) who deputises Rep. Onuigbo on the House Committee disclosed that the sum of $15billion will be spent by the Lake Chad Commission with contributions from an international body supported by the United States, the United Kingdom and neighbouring African countries on the Lake Chad basin.
“We could remember when Ghadafi was embarking on his green revolution in the desert, he took water from underneath the lake.
“We are making efforts at recharging the Lake Chad by creating a channel that takes water from the upper Congo river down to the lake.
“Nigeria has paid over $5m on the studies of the the lake and how to go about reclaiming receded areas. So now, its left for the international donor agencies and other neighbouring countries to redeem their pledges by making their own contributions for the project to start”, he said.