A network of civil society organisations (CSOs) has called for a “Green Recovery Deal” out of COVID-19 in Nigeria.
The CSOs made the call in a statement issued by Mr Pius Oko, the Project Officer, Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet) Abuja on Tuesday, June 23, 2020.
The network is made up of groups operating under the aegis of CSDevNet, the Nigeria Civil Society Framework on Paris Agreement and the SDGs (NCSFPAS) and the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA).
“CSDevNet, NCSFPAS and PACJA call for a just, green recovery deal that can tackle the crisis, particularly the health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As the Economic Sustainable Committee (ESC) team, led by Vice-President, Yemi Osinbanjo prepares to launch unprecedented stimulus and recovery package, it is our belief that this historic moment calls for a different, an equally unprecedented response,” Oko said.
He added that climate-smart agriculture must be scaled up as enshrined in the nation’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to the Paris Agreement.
He said there should be increased funding to the health and production of vaccines, energy, science, education, and technology sector in the national, state and local government budgets.
Oko quoted Mr Barau Jawal, the Deputy Executive Director, Keep Bauchi Clean Initiative as saying: “Waste to wealth production should be part of the Federal Government’s COVID-19 Green Recovery and Economic Sustainability target, this is in energy production (bio-energy).”
Jamal encouraged the government and individuals to reduce or eliminate the release of pollutants into the environment by proper waste deposal and providing proper waste sites at every ward.
Mr Nwan Emeka, the Project Director, Connecting Peace Initiative, Rivers, said that government’s efforts should be channelled to tree planting and should be monitored for transparency.
“There should be enforcement of the law on recycling which will involve every citizen; ban single-use plastics and taking responsibility for setting up plants for recycling to curtail waste and city pollution,” Emeka said.
Mr Jacob Ibrahim, Dengula Farms and Agro-Processing Firm, Adamawa, said that the government should provide Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise(SME) policy, soft loans and grants to serve as an important repository response in coming out of the COVID-19 crisis.
“Essential products and services should be given special tags to ensure business continuity in this tumultuous time to guide law enforcement agencies and ensure manufacturing, supply or provision of essential goods or services,” Ibrahim said.
Also, Mrs Iyanu Oluwa, the Achievers Innovative Advocates International Foundation, Lagos, said the government should provide rapid response for sustainable food production by supporting farmers in the rural communities to plant food crops that would be subsistent for consumption.
“Government should support more youths and women as main drivers of rural economies and in its economic growth plan towards agriculture across the country with subsidies, mechanised equipment and grants,” Oluwa said.
Similarly, Dr Eris Ibi, the Executive Director, Working Fingers Int’l Initiative in Delta, emphasised that post COVID-19 green recovery programmes should focus on poverty, health, and unemployment.
Ibi said that grassroots organisations should be engaged to drive the process because during the lockdown NGOs, faith-based and community-based organisations were closest to the people and attended to them.
Mr Toyin Oshaniwa, the Founder, Toyin Oshaniwa Foundation, Lagos State said the ESC policy action should focus on full mainstreaming of environmental education and environmental management plans that cover Water Sanitation and Hygiene.
Oshaniwa said that the environmental education and management plan should be enshrined into both public and private space as one of the essential road maps to Green Recovery Solution.
“COVID-19 pandemic experience has demonstrated that we need nature as nature can recover fully with or without the help of man. Thus, green recovery solution should be nature-based solutions,” Oshinawa said.
Mr Uche Uchenna, the Executive Director, Foundation for Family Values and Health Orientation and Empowerment, FCT, said government had to support SMEs to reduce poverty, through provision of Cash Transfer(capital), training of youths and women on vocational skills.
Uchenna added that there should be increase allocation to health for the training of medical personnel, acquiring of equipment and supporting rural health centres with increased sensitisation on COVID-19
Ms Vickie Onyekuru, the Programme Director, Child Health Organisation, Lagos, said recovery plans must ensure people’s wellbeing were at the heart of the crisis response and protection of workers’ rights, through a “just transition for all” that leaves no one behind.