By Etta Michael Bisong
Stakeholders in the environment sector have called for the inclusion of awareness creation on climate change and its impacts into the anticipated Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which Nigeria will submit and expect to be adopted into the new agreement as its own position during the 2015 Conference of Parties (COP) taking place in Paris later this year.
The behaviour of Nigerians towards environmental protection, according to the experts who gathered recently at a workshop in Abuja to fine-tune measures on how to develop Nigeria’s INDCs, evidently reveals the need for more citizenship education on climate change and its relationship with human activities.
“We need to do more to sensitise our people to the hazards of climate change. That in my view has not been adequately done,” said Ambassador Martin Uhomoibhi.
The diplomat predicted that Nigeria will be in serious danger if the citizens are not adequately sensitised on the importance of proper waste disposal such as sachet water nylon and discourage the culture of incessant tree felling, sighting the prolonged rainfall and the sunny weather experienced in most parts of the country to draw attention to the aftermath of climate change.
Amb. Uhomoibhi, a retired Permanent Secretary and member of the National Steering Committee on COP21, said addressing this problem, and other policy issues as well as properly capturing and integrating the various sectors involved into the INDCs – “Are national issues that we must pursue.”
However, he assured that the Committee is working seriously hard to identify these issues mostly those that are of interest to Nigeria and involve national positions on them. He noted that the focus of the committee presently is to ensure that the framework, documentation and logistics necessary to ensure the successful delivery of the INDCs are in place.
Executive Director of the Centre For Climate Change and Environmental Studies, Dr. Aminu Zakari who also expressed his thoughts on the matter, regretted the poor level of public perception on climate change and its connections to sustainable development after 20 years of Nigeria’s participation at the COP.
This, according to him, reveals the insincerity and lack of proper roadmap to address the huge problems of climate change surrounding the survival of the nation.
“From the global perspective Nigeria is ready enough to address this issue,” he said. “But from the local angle, I don’t think Nigeria is ready to address the issue.”
The environmental rights campaigner hinted that Nigeria can learn and borrow from the various available international best practices to enhance citizens’ awareness and best prepare them to combat the inimical aspect of this environmental epidemic.