True to his promise made last September during the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, President Muhammadu Buhari is set to ratify the Paris Agreement.
The Nigerian president had promised after signing the gobal climate pact at a side event during the UNGA71 that he would ratify the treaty during the UN climate change talks (COP22) in Marrakech, Morocco.
Ibrahim Usman Jibril, the Environment Minister of State, confirmed on Wednesday in Marrakech that President Buhari would be in the Moroccan city next week.
He said: “Just about two weeks ago, the Federal Executive Council approved the ratification of the Paris Agreement and Mr President, by the grace of God, will be coming for this COP22 next week. And one of the reasons why he will be coming is to ratify the Paris Agreement which was approved by the Federal Executive Council in Nigeria.”
He flayed views held by certain quarters that, coming to the COP, Nigeria seemed unprepared, in the light of the fact that, among other issues, the climate treaty was yet to be ratified.
He stated: “That is not true. You are fully aware that President Muhhamadu Buhari was in New York during the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) where, during a side event, he signed the Paris Agreement. And, just about two weeks ago, the Federal Executive Council approved the ratification of that Paris Agreement and Mr President, by the grace of God, next week will be coming for this COP22. And one of the reasons why he will be coming is to ratify the Paris Agreement which was approved by the Federal Executive Council in Nigeria.
“We did not rush to do the signing and ratification because we wanted to do a stakeholder consultation, wherein we did a series of meetings with NGOs, legislators and numerous stakeholders to make sure that we carried everybody along so that people will get to know exactly what this issue is all about. We needed to do things that are of interest to Nigerians, and that is exactly what we did. So we look at this event as a very important one.”
He disclosed that, following international appeals and campaigns, considerable progress had been made regarding the shrinking Lake Chad basin, which Nigeria shares with sevral neighbouring countries.
His words: “After the UNGA, the big boost after the President canvassed relentlessly for intervention is tha the German authorities accepted to intervene by way of funding recharging the Lake Chad. You need to realise that climate change has an effect in conflicts. We know the drying up of the Lake Chad and, as means of livelihood, what it means for it to drying to millions of people who depend on it. So getting external funding for the Lake Chad was key and we have to commend the President for this development.
“So, we have to clean the Northeast even after the Boko Haram insurgency has been completely eliminated. We must have to find a way to clear the explosive divices left behind by the insurgents, as well as find a way to ressetle the internall dispalsed persons (IDPs) . There so many people all over the country who are seriously vulnerable and are exposed to all sorts of hardships. This is of serious concern to us. It is about the socio-economic and environmental concerns. Remember, for more than five years, these people have not been able to access their farms.
“So we just have to get them back in such a way that they have to getback to their farms, they have to get back to their means of livelihood and we have to address the widows, the children that are elft with their parents. The trauma is something that is cross-cutting. The Ministry of Environment is at the fore-front and we are collaborating with the Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Agriculture, and other Federal Government agencies and departments in the recovery of the Lake Chad region.
“We travel across the whole country and there is no part of Nigeria that we don’t have environmental problems. So, coming to COP22 and the issue of climate change is something significant to us.”