The Federal Government on Friday, April 9, 2021 pledged to ensure that environmental projects and programmes were effectively implemented to promote a safe and healthier environment in the country.
Minister of Environment, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, made the pledge at a three-day National Council on the Environment meeting in Abuja.
The theme of the meeting is: ‘Managing Emerging Environmental Challenges: Need for Strategic Approach to Sustainable Development in Covid-19 Era and Beyond’.
Abubakar said that the theme was carefully chosen to reflect the reality of COVID-19, its consequences and the compelling need to devise a feasible strategy, manage and sustain socio-economic and environmental recovery efforts.
He said that steady and modest progress was being made in accomplishing relevant goals related to the development of the ministry as projects and programmes were being pursued with vigour.
The minister said that the projects and programmes the ministry was implementing included accelerating the implementation of the Ogoni clean-up and that of the Great Green Wall programmes.
“Promoting and setting targets for tree planting towards meeting Mr President’s declared commitment to planting 25 million trees in 2025.
“Also, prioritising and enforcing the implementation of the gas flare (prevention of waste and pollution) regulations, 2018 and the extended producer responsibility framework.
“The ministry is as well planning on the implementation of a comprehensive programme on the domestic use of liquefied petroleum gas,” he said.
Abubakar added that the ministry is working with the National Assembly to promote the passage of relevant legislation on recycling waste and restrictions on the use of plastics and wood-fuel, in line with global agreements.
He said this is in addition to actively collaborating with private sectors to create a large number of well-paying jobs for youths.
According to him, the implementation of a strategy toward the realisation of Mr President’s June 12 promise to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years is also involved.
“Other major milestones include Nguru wetland programmes, the establishment of National Forest Trust Fund, programme on approach for electronic sector, Ecotourism programme in National Park Services.
“Meanwhile, not only are these achievements facilitated by the partnering states which is a good omen for the nation’s participation in the COP 26 coming up later in the year.
“The ministry is also expected to strengthen the Nationally Determined Contributions, (NDCs) towards preparation for the COP 26 conference.
“As well as engaging on various other programmes and projects that are ongoing simultaneously in the ministry,’’ he said.
Abubakar said that the environment was prominent amongst the sectors most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak in terms of dwindling resources for financing the ambitious programmes and projects in the sector.
Similarly, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, the Environment Minister for State, said that high-level decision-makers in government, experts, and stakeholders were involved at the council meeting to ensure that environmental challenges were effectively tackled.
Ikeazor said that the environment provides the life support system for human existence and survival by supplying the needs for air, water, food, place of abode, raw materials, among others.
“But the interplay of unsustainable human activities and natural phenomena constantly lead to changes in environmental constituents and capabilities,” she said.
The Chairman House Committee on Environment, Sen. Johnson Oghuma, said that the House was aware of the challenges the ministry was facing, especially under the COVID-19 pandemic.
Oghuma said that the committee was also aware of the vital role the ministry was playing in ensuring that the environment was safe and healthy, adding that the committee would always support the ministry to ensure that its mandates were achieved.
Mr Oluyomi Banjo, Representative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), said that the organisation would continue to assist the ministry to ensure that projects were effectively executed.
Banjo said that the council meeting would bring vital ideas and lasting solutions that would help to tackle environmental challenges effectively in the country.
By Vivian Emoni