An environmentalist, Mrs Gloria Bulus, has called for the application of evidence-based research and data to mitigate the effects of climate change in the country.
Bulus, who is the Founder of Bridge-that-Gap initiative, a Kaduna-based non-governmental organisation, made the call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday, October 2, 2018 in Lagos.
She said that her call was in reaction to President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement on climate change concerns in his independence speech on Oct. 1.
NAN reports that President Buhari, in his address, said that Nigeria was one of the countries in the world mostly affected by environmental degradation because of climate change.
“We are signatories to almost all conventions and agreements aimed at slowing down the effects of climate change and mitigating its now-evident consequences.
“The consequences of the shrinking of the Lake Chad and pollution caused by oil exploration activities on lives and livelihoods alone have made it mandatory for us to be at the forefront of the struggle for a safer and more sustainable environment.
“We will continue to mobilise international support for our efforts in this regard,” Buhari had said.
However, Bulus stressed that the fact that Nigeria was a signatory to various environmental and climate change accords was not enough to solve the climate change issues.
“Being signatory to various environmental policies across the globe is not enough, as the consequences of climate change are already evident in our country.
“There is the need to strengthen our capacity to plan and respond effectively to climate change impacts through scientific research and evidence-based data.
“What we need now is action to effectively mitigate climate change; we must first understand deeply the impact of climate change and its effects on us now and on the future generation,” she said.
Bulus underscored the need for Nigeria to strengthen its environmental laws, policies and ensure compliance to mitigate the effects of climate change in a pragmatic way.
“We have some environmental laws and policies, but these laws and policies need to be strengthened; we also have to ensure they are implemented.
“We need strategies and a well-formulated action plan to mitigate climate change.
“The action plan should have specific time-frame and periodic evaluation mechanisms to fully implement sustainable climate change solutions,” she said.
Bulus urged the government and other stakeholders to make concerted efforts to overcome the challenges of climate change.
“The Federal Government needs to collaborate with other organisations and stakeholders to address environmental issues both internationally and locally.
“Nigerians at the grassroots level are needed in the fight against climate change; it requires the collective effort of everyone,” she said.
As part of efforts to manage waste properly and forestall flooding incidences, the environmentalist called for sensitisation of Nigerians and concerted efforts to tackle the menace of climate change.
“There is so much to be done. If we can put in a little more effort into flood mitigation, waste management and recycling projects, we will reduce climate change concerns.
“If we recycle our waste, we will not only generate income, but we will also reduce waste and flood.
“Direct engagement with citizens will help Nigerians to better understand what climate change is and its horrible effects.
“Evidence-based data and reports on climate crises should be made available to the public, especially through downloadable soft copies, use of infographics and hard copies from research centres.
“Advocacy on climate change effects should start from households, communities, schools, worship centres and markets,’’ Bulus added.
By Mariam Akande and Mercy Omoike