The International Centre for Energy, Environment and Development (ICEED) says climate change represents a clear and present danger to the future of Nigeria’s development, if not well tackled.
Mr Ewah Eleri, the Executive Director of ICEED, made this known during a deliberation on the challenges of expanding energy access and responding to climate change in the next 20 years.
According to Eleri, the country’s response to climate change is grossly in adequate as Nigeria is at the epicentre of the current climate change crises.
He said already Nigeria has the largest absolute number of people living in extreme poverty in the world, having recently overtaken from India.
“As environmental assets such as land and water remain the primary capital of the poor, the erosion of these assets put pressure on coping capacity of poor people.
“The reinforcing impact of climatic change and degrading human development conditions is already playing out in Northern Nigeria, especially around the Lake Chad Basin.
“Today, climate change and poverty are already inducing the herders and farmers conflicts and has become one of the underlying factors sustaining the current terrorism in the Northeast,’’ he said.
On its major achievement in Nigeria in the last 20 years, he said that ICEED had produced some of the most influential policy research on climate change and renewable energy in Nigeria.
Eleri said that ICEED also contributed to the first Renewable Energy Master Plan in 2005 and Nigeria’s positions on International Climate Change Negotiations from 2007 to 2011.
He said that ICEED contributed to the production of the first ever Rural Electrification Strategy and provided technical assistance for the establishment of Rural Electrification Agency (REA).
He said that ICEED had helped to raise and sustain the momentum for energy access in Nigeria, adding that ICEED also responded to the humanitarian challenge posed by Boko Haram terrorist in the Northeast among others.
Dr Olufolahan Osunmuyiwa, a Researcher, Harrot Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, advised the Federal Government to make electricity a national security issue as the country owed its citizens a duty to provide uninterrupted energy.
Osunmuyiwa also called for the removal of subsidy, engaged both private and public sectors in solving Nigeria’s energy problem and focus on community electrification among others.
Some of the participants such as lead thinkers, policymakers, private sector operators and businesspeople at the event called for the involvement of the private sector in addressing electricity deficit in Nigeria.
They called for strong elite concession on best ways to mitigate climate change, mainstream climate change into school’s curriculum.
They also called on the Federal Government to allocate adequate finance for climate change adaptation and should be mainstreamed into National Planning among others.
Among the participants are environmentalists and the energy experts such as Prof. Felix Dayo, CEO, Tripple E Systems; Mr Nnanna Ude of Nigerian Economic Summit Group; Prof. Emmanuel Oladipo, Professor of Geograhpy, University of Lagos; and Sean Melbourne, Head of Climate Change and Energy, West Africa, British High Commission.
By Francisca Oluyole