By Vivian Emoni
The Minister of State for Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, on Wednesday appealed to the National Assembly to expedite action on the passing into law the climate change Bill.
Ikeazor, who made the appeal at a virtual meeting on a three-day National Council for Environment in Abuja, said that the Bill had already passed second reading on the floor of the House.
The minister said that the Bill had become necessary so as to have a legal instrument that would address the myriads of climate change actions and challenges in the country.
She said that the theme of the meeting was tagged: Managing Emerging Environmental Challenges: Need for Strategic Approach to Sustainable Development in COVID-19 Era and Beyond”.
She said that the theme was strategically chosen to underscore the realities of global health challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is the need to tackle the attendant issues to ameliorate the environmental and developmental consequences that may confront the nation if fail to act now.
“This, therefore, underscores the crucial nature of this meeting.
“As a sector, the need for us to deliberate on the increasing concerns with a view to generating actionable policy framework and measures to guide our actions towards addressing these emerging concerns is uppermost.
“This is why we are here,” she said.
Ikeazor, therefore, urged the participants to engage their various experiences, expertise and ingenuity during the meeting towards finding lasting solutions to the multifaceted environmental challenges confronting the nation.
She said that parts of the challenges included biodiversity loss, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, among others.
The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Abel Enitan, said that the meeting was previously scheduled to hold in Kano towards the end of 2020 but could not, due to the second wave of the pandemic.
“The council had to be postponed and subsequently repackaged to accommodate the virtual option in a bid to ensure strict compliance with COVID-19 public health and safety protocols.
“As a result of the inability of this meeting to accommodate the various memoranda from all stakeholders, the ministry has carefully selected 45 memoranda with broad relevance to specific situations and circumstances of members,” Enitan said.
Sen. Micheal Nnachi, who spoke on behalf of the Senate Committee on Environment, however, called for the involvement of more Non-Governmental Organisations in the ministry’s activities.
Nnachi said that most of its activities were grassroots oriented that required a lot of mobilisation and enlightenment.
He said the Senate was very much aware of the lean envelope of the ministry in spite of its enormous responsibilities.
He, therefore, gave assurance that positive reviews had been made to facilitate and boost its funding windows.
Also, Prof. Mansur Matazu, Director General, Nigerian Meteorological Agency, appealed to the minister and the council to support the ratification of the National Framework for the Application of Climate Services.
Matazu said that the effort would ensure seamless access to climate service information for the benefit of all. (NAN)