On November 18, 2021, His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) signed into law the Climate Change Bill sponsored by me and earlier passed by the National Assembly. Nigeria now has a Climate Change Act which provides a legal framework on which the country’s climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts will be based.
It is important to note that the Climate Change Act makes provisions for the constitution of a National Council on Climate Change headed by the President, with members including ministers of relevant ministries, chairman of the governors’ forum, president of ALGON, National Security Adviser, representatives of the youths, Persons Living with Disabilities, women, climate-related NGOs, the private sector, etc.
The all-encompassing nature of the composition of the council is to ensure that the voices of all is heard. The high-level nature of the council is intentional. Climate Change is a serious issue which demands the highest level of attention— the type that will elicit serious responses.
The act further sets up the Climate Change Fund to be administered by the council. This fund will be channelled towards adaptation efforts, support for innovations that will lead to decarbonization, investments into green economy, support for nature-based solutions such as REDD+ and the Great Green Wall Initiative, and many more.
It also sets a net zero emissions target for the country while setting up five-yearly carbon budgets and annual carbon targets. There are also provisions for proper oversight on Nigeria’s Climate Change efforts by the National Assembly and a communication process that is time-bound, and public.
The first part of a very important journey has been done. Proper implementation demands full attention and action by all of us. Together, and only together, can we realize our objectives and set our country on the path of an important transition to green and sustainable economy. Make no mistake about it, the world is transiting and we must join or wake up in a few decades an impoverished and uninhabitable country with stranded assets.
By the climate change enactment, therefore, Nigeria has joined frontline nations of the world that have taken deliberate and sure steps towards retrieving the planet from our reckless past and saving it for generations yet unborn. This historic development is already creating positive vibes for Nigeria in the international community and is surely a colourful contribution to the global stature of Africa’s most populous country and host to the world’s largest contribution of black people.
I will like to thank His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) for exhibiting selfless and precocious leadership. He is a jinx breaker and has kept the promise he made to Nigerians on May 29, 2015, during his inaugural address. Worthy of commendation are also the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan GCON, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Idris Wase, all members of the National Assembly, the bureaucracy of the National Assembly, the Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Hon. Abubakar Malami SAN, my colleagues in Climate Parliament Nigeria and GLOBE Nigeria, members of the diplomatic mission especially the British High Commission and the US Embassy and climate activists in the country for consistently pushing for this, youths and women, the technical team of professionals who worked with me on the bill, members of the media, and others.
Rep. Sam Onuigbo FCIS, FNIM, Ikwuano/Umuahia North/Umuahia South Federal Constituency, Abia State.