Former House of Representatives member, Dr Samuel Onuigbo has canvassed the support media practioners towards ensuring the implementation of the climate change Act passed in law on the 17 November 2021.
Speaking on the role of the media in mainstreaming climate change policies at a retreat for members of the House of Representatives press corps in Minna, he remarked that it behooves journalists to keep the issues revolving around climate change in the front burner to ensure effective implementation of the law.
Onuigbo who is a member of the North East develop described the retreat held at the instance of Governor Umar Bago of Niger state as a step in the right direction.
Saying no fewer than eleven states of the country bordering the sahelian region were being impacted by climate change, he identified the incessant conflict between farmers and herders in the country as fallout of the negative impacts of climate change in the country.
He explained that the ugly trends informed the decision to include the national security adviser (NSA) on the climate change council with members drawn from the presidency, academia , governors, local council chairmen, Civil societies organisations (CSOs), the media and persons living with disabilities (PLWDs).
Onuigbo who sponsored the climate change Bill identified intense and untimely rainfall, deforestation, land degradation, flood, landslides, gully erosion, coastal erosion as some of the impacts of climate change in the southern part of the country.
Reminiscing his days while growing up in his Ikwuano/Umuahia constituency of Abia state, he said hundreds of farmers who have lost farmlands now face existential threats due to the impact of imate change in the country.
Onuigbo said if actions are not taken, the economy will be so devastated and it will be too difficult to recover.
He said that monies that would have been used to develop the country is being put into recovering from the effects of climate change.
He tasked journalists to engage and seek funding from donor agencies for the required empowerment to put climate change issues on the front burner and cause appropriate actions.
Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman, Director-General of National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) said it behooves journalists to galvanise efforts to avert calamitous consequences of climate change in Nigeria and beyond.
Represented by the General Manager, Democracy Radio, Mr Kudu Abubakar he argued that the measure remains the only way the parliamentarians, parliament including the Executive arm and other professionals to realise the goals and achieve the stated climate change policies of the United Nations.
According to him, Nigeria lost $6 billion to the 2022 flood; and following the devastation of farm lands, farmer/harder clashes which is as a result of climate change, food and national security is challenged.
Also speaking, Dr Uche Anunne, Assistant Editor-in-Chief in the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) enumerated some challenges on mainstreaming climate change.
In a paper titled ‘Effective Reporting of Green Economy: the Prospects and Challenges’ Anenne said that the concept of climate change is relatively new and there are few experts.
He said that lack of political will, lack of policies, dearth of data and information, lack of funding among others.
Quoting a study by Brookings Institute, Anunne said that to implement a green transition, Nigeria will need to tackle three main obstacles of inadequate financing, fiscal and job consequences of a just transition, and imperfect project implementation capacities.
He charged media practicers to ensure the obstacles are removed and to hold policy makers accountable to the people.
“As National Assembly reporters it is important that you hold lawmakers accountable for legislations on green economy.
“Are they demonstrating enough commitment to green economy? It is also imperative that you track green economy- related public budgets and financing.
“Are we paying a lip service to it or properly budgeting for it? What per cent of what is proposed in the budget was approved and what per cent was released.
“What is the budget performance? What are the related agencies of government doing to ensure the implementation of green economy-related laws? How about Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and development partners,” he said.