Experts Call For Domestication of 2015 Paris Pact

Environmental Law experts have called for the enforcement of Climate Change Act in Nigerians as a major step in showing serious commitment to confronting the challenge of global warming and other consequences of Climate Change.

Speaking at an environmental forum held in a private institution in Ede, Osun State, the experts observed that at the moment, there was no statutory instrument that directly and specifically address the global menace.

An Environmental Lawyer and Senior Lecturer at the Federal University, Oye Ekiti, Dr Ngozi Ole-Agwu said it was imperative to have a single act that would have an overarching effect on the climate, rather than one that is talking about the environment generally.

Dr Ole-Agwu emphasized that since Nigeria accepted the 2015 Paris Pact, which is the latest international convention on checking climate change, it was important for the nation to implement its provisions faithfully to achieve the target of reducing greenhouse emissions by the year 2030.

She said all Nigerians in one way or the other contributed to the problem of global warming, hence, the solution of reducing the global temperature to two-degree celsius rested with the people, but required adequate enlightenment to encourage actions in the interest of a safe environment.

The senior lecturer who is also a research leader in Environment and Water at the African Center for Excellence also charged mobile communications service providers in Nigeria that they were morally and legally bound to support actions in fighting climate change as a part of their corporate social responsibility.

“They have a role to play, because, one, from moral point of view they are contributing, and when you look at it from the legal point of view, every company has a social responsibility. If you’re focusing your own on environmental objectives, that won’t be out of place. It is easier for them to play that role than some other bodies.” For example, in a country like Kenya, those who are at the forefront of the fight against climate change are the telecommunications companies. The government partners with them and they also partner electricity companies and they sell clean electricity appliances and devices to citizens at affordable rates”.

In a paper presentation on Climate Action in Post COVID-19 Era, Dr Ole-Agwu drew the nexus between the climate change and COVID-19 where she noted that the period of COVID lockdown was a value added to the environment as about 25 percent reduction in greenhouse emission was recorded in China alone.

She however noted that efforts to tame the noble virus also impacted negatively on Climate Change Action as the agreed 100 trillion dollars projected for climate had to be inevitably diverted to resolve COVID-19 issue.

Similarly, another environmental Lawyer, Mr. Kingsley Onu noted that despite the much talk about the climate change issue in Nigeria, there was no legal framework that dealt with climate change except the available legislation, hence there is a need for comprehensive legislation that deals expressly and directly focus on climate change.

Environmental Lawyer, Mr. Kingsley Onu

Mr Onu emphasized that such legal framework must not just be targeted at climate change but must mainstream human rights, so that in the course of mitigating the effect of climate change, the rights of citizens would not be infringed upon.

The Environmental Lawyer who is also a Law teacher at the University argued that the only agency established by law to oversee environmental issues in Nigeria, the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, NESREA, was not sufficiently empowered to do so.

“The NESREA Act by virtue of section 7 empowers NESREA as an agency to implement international protocols and conventions that Nigeria has accented to. NESREA has power to enforce international framework on Climate change, but the problem is before you can implement an international framework here in Nigeria, you must comply with section 12 of the constitution which provides for domestication of such laws. So the power of NESREA in section 7 is conflicting with the constitution in section 12, which means such power cannot activated until it is domesticated”.

Adenitan Akinola

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