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Plan for Nigeria climate change commission sparks debate - papers

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Fri, 12 Aug 2011 16:56 GMT
Author: George Fominyen
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DAKAR (AlertNet) - A Nigerian environmental group has urged the country’s president, GoodLuck Jonathan, not to sign into law a bill creating a climate change commission in the country, saying this would steer focus away from other environmental issues, the Daily Trust newspaper reported on Friday.

Nigeria’s parliament (Senate and National Assembly) has passed a bill to establish a national climate change commission responsible to manage the effect of global warming, but several months on the president is yet to sign the bill into law.

“What we should do as a country is to strengthen our environmental management institutions instead of creating a commission because all the funds coming in on environmental protection would go to that commission and little would be available to solve other environmental problems,” the Daily Trust quoted Emmanuel Ating, president of the Environmental Management Association of Nigeria, as saying.

“It would be a fundamental error for President Goodluck Jonathan to sign the bill into law, he will even be destroying the environment further because that would make the minister of environment subordinate to that commission and nothing should make issues of environment secondary,” Ating added.

However, other environmental groups have criticized the president for refusing to sign the law.

“Nigerians are worried that President Jonathan has not been able to sign the Climate Change Bill into law even after seven months of its passage by the National Assembly,” said Ewah Out Eleri, executive director of the Nigeria-based International Centre for Energy, Environment and Development (ICEED).

Eleri said the law would provide room for agricultural insurance cover for Nigerian farmers in the event of produce losses due to the escalating global climate change challenges, including flash floods and droughts that are causing serious havoc to the agricultural sector in Nigeria, the Champion newspaper reported.

With the United Nations framework Convention for climate change due in Durban in South Africa from Nov. 28 to Dec. 9, some feel Nigeria is unprepared:

“It is… disturbing that Nigeria, one of the participating countries at the conference is yet to establish a climate change commission that would negotiate and coordinate the countries activities at the conference,” the Daily Independent newspaper said.

(Editing by Rebekah Curtis)

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