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Nigeria reiterates commitment to just transition to Net-Zero Emissions

President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to improving access to affordable, reliable energy and transitioning to the use of cleaner energy, in line with the global target of net-zero emissions.

Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

Net-Zero entails that new emissions were not added to the atmosphere.

The president made the commitment through Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at a virtual Africa Regional Heads of Government Commonwealth Roundtable, on Thursday, April 16, 2021, according to a statement, in Abuja by Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the vice president.

Buhari cautioned, however, that an end to international funding for gas, as a fossil fuel, would create dire challenges for gas-producing countries especially in Africa.

The president said that Nigeria was already transitioning from petrol – Premium Motor Spirit – to natural gas, which was accepted more or less as a transition fuel, the bridge to renewable energy.

According to Buhari, Nigeria supports the goal of the Commonwealth in outlining responsible transition pathways to decarbonise and achieve net and negative zero emissions.

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He highlighted the efforts of his administration, through its Economic Sustainability Plan, to provide five million homes with cleaner energy through its solar power programme, as well as the Natural Gas Expansion Programme.

“We have the goal of installing solar homes systems in about five million homes, which means that 25 million Nigerians would have access to solar power.

“This is under our Economic Sustainability Plan. This is the first phase, and we think that this sort of programme will very quickly ramp up our progress towards zero emission.

“We also have our Natural Gas Expansion Programme. This is where we are using Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) to replace the use of Petrol, and this is going on now. We are actually trying to fit and retrofit existing petrol stations, so that the use of cleaner fossil fuels will replace it.

“We hope that we will be able to achieve this objective as quickly as possible.

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“So, we are resolutely committed to all of our national development contributions under all of our agreements, the Paris Agreement, and we will support all actions that are taken along the lines of zero emissions.”

Buhari called on the Commonwealth to consider ways to support African countries in achieving a just transition to net-zero emissions, especially given the fact that natural gas had been accepted as a transition fuel.

“But unfortunately, what we are seeing is the move towards defunding of natural gas projects by the EU, and the World Bank has also been indicated that natural gas projects would be defunded.

“Now, this obviously would put countries, such as ours, in a very dire situation and make the transition extremely difficult for us. What we are focused on trying to do is to ensure that our gas projects replace coal and fuels.”

While urging for more support and cooperation from the Commonwealth, the president added that Nigeria remained committed to all of its  national development contributions under all of its agreements.

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He said that Nigeria was committed to the Paris Agreement and would support all actions that are taken along the lines of zero emissions.

The Prince of Wales had called for a series of roundtables to find the best way for the Commonwealth to maintain a lead position of the global agenda on climate change action and post-COVID recovery plans.

The meeting also discussed the economic recovery and sustainable economic transition priorities of member-states.

Earlier, Buhari restated the condolences of the government and people of Nigeria on the recent passing of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, saying: “He was much loved and admired here in Nigeria.”

The president prayed that his memory would be blessed always.

Other African leaders at the summit included the Presidents of Rwanda, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Botswana and Gambia. The Commonwealth Secretary General, Patricia Scotland, was also at the meeting.

By Chijioke Okoronkwo

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