Leaders of some civil society organisations (CSOs) have lauded the Federal Government for commencing implementation of the Climate Change Act, following appointment of a Director General (DG) to pilot affairs of the National Council on Climate Change.
In recent weeks, the campaigners had underscored the need for the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, set the ball rolling on implementation of the Act signed into law in November 2021 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Apparently bowing to pressure, government, last week, announced the appointment of Dr. Salisu Dahiru as pioneer DG and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Council.
In a reaction, President of the Society for Planet and Prosperity (SPP), who is also Director of Centre for Climate Change and Development (CCCD) at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Nigeria, Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, said he was delighted that government had listened to the message sent by leaders of CSOs and non-governmental organisations to implement the Act.
Okereke, who led the Technical Committee set up by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, to review the bill, said he hoped the appointment of the new DG would be quickly followed by inauguration of the Climate Council and elaboration of real policy measures to tackle climate change and transition Nigeria to the green economy.
National Coordinator, Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE), Nigeria, Nnaemeka Oruh, said: “I would say that the coordinated campaigns by civil society, the media, youth advocates, the international community, especially the British High Commission, and of course, the National Assembly, especially Representative Sam Onuigbo, played a critical role in this. This is a win for Nigeria, and an important step.”
The CEO/Founder, Fresh and Young Brains Development Initiative, Nkiruka Okonkwo, said: “It’s an exciting news. Yes, the CSOs engagement helped.”
Dr. Mina Ogbanga of the Centre for Development Support Initiatives (CEDSI Nigeria) described the development as “a strong step in the right direction.”
She said: “As the president of the River State Network of NGOs (RINNGOS) and CEO of Centre for Development Support Initiatives (CEDSI), we completely acknowledge this step as one that will cascade our climate change ambitions unto actualisation.
“I am very positive that the strategic advocacy of civil societies contributed in no small way to the government taking this step. As an organisation, we have continuously called for implementation of the Climate Change Act as part of Nigeria’s contribution to safeguarding its citizens against the harsh realities of climate change impact.”
Chief Executive Officer, Global Environmental and Climate Conservation Initiative (GECCI), Abdulhamid Hamid, acknowledged that the call for government to implement the Act “was very effective, and we now know that government is taking it seriously.”
He added: “Therefore, with this good development, we are still expecting its urgent implementation. The Climate Change Act also includes provisions for members of the public and private sectors, as well as civil society, women, youth, and people with disabilities. It empowers the Council with significant powers to coordinate national climate actions, administer the newly established Climate Change Fund, mobilise resources to support climate actions, and collaborate with the Nigerian Sovereign Green Bond in meeting Nigeria’s Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).”
The Founder and Executive Director of the Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation (GIFSEP), David Terungwa, on his part, applauded the appointment, but added that the delay in implementation of the Act was uncalled for.