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‘Nigeria cannot fight climate change with individual approach’

The Minister of Environment Ibrahim Jibril says it’s a difficult task to fight climate change, how do we draw the line between climate change, natural disasters and how to address them?

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Climate is a change that is attributory either directly or indirectly it alters the atmospheric condition of the earth, but it’s a global issue because there are factors, it is being caused by the developed world but African countries are at the receiving end.

What the minister says, yes, we cannot fight climate change with individual approach, it has to be a holistic approach. Therefore with that approach we have to reduce the initial level, you don’t expect sea level rise.  Anytime there are changes, the southern part will be affected and the northern part. Nigeria cannot fight but we need to be a party to where it will be reduced, of course ozone layer has been affected so Nigeria cannot solve or correct the problem of its own ozone, it is a layer that cut across from so many countries.

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Are we on the right path?

For now I can say yes, but we need to do more because the backbone of Nigeria’s economy is oil and oil has its significant effects, therefore Nigeria needs to diversify and look to other sector even mining has effects on the environment so there are other sectors.  Malaysia is talking about tourism it has minimal effect. I remember Nasir e’l-rufai signed an MOU with a company in Malaysia regarding biomass which will provide fuel in a bid to become climate friendly.

Nigeria needs to key into so many things so that it will reduce initially. Looking at the recent flooding occurrence, they are caused by climate change but an ordinary person will not understand it’s a long term something.  The government of the day is making effort joining parties like UNFCCC which will help fight climate changes.

With NIMET predictions and other warnings on flood, yet we don’t seem to get it right, how do we address the issue?

Flooding is when a body of water is submerged and causes overflow; there are coastal flood, river flood and flash flood. River flood is a result of heavy precipitation lasting for longer hours and when a particular river bank cannot withstand the volume of water it leads to flooding, which are caused by factors like tropical maritime air mass which pushes the tropical continental air mass even towards the end of December.

Lagdo Dam in Cameroun, anytime there is heavy precipitation they might not want their dam to collapse as a result discharge the water. We need to have a dam that will serve as flood control, which we can divert water into to prevent river flood that occurred in Benue State. All we need do is calculate the volume of water, if they release water flood for like 2-4 days we can divert that water to serve so many purposes, irrigation, electricity, tourism but we are not doing that.

A dam is needed at riverine communities to solve flooding at the River Benue. Kanji and Shiroro cannot accommodate the volume of water when the Niger Republic discharges their water so that is one element that will solve problems of flood.

For flash flood, people are building without taking into consideration setbacks, anytime you have a building plan there is a setback but people force their way to have a land liable to flood and anytime there is flood you blame the government.

Government authorities need to revisit issue of planning approval, land stream or any water body because this is very important, we have cases in Benue, Taraba and Adamawa all of which are not government’s fault but individuals’ and we need to do something about it.

On coastal flood around the coast is a result of changes in atmospheric process. When the atmosphere changes and there is heavy volume of water, definitely the sea will rise or a collapse in the compact max of ice (glazier) definitely water volume will rise which spills and causes coastal flood with the only solution is you don’t need land reclamation, water will always take its cause. Water has a strong force and without any strategy it will have its own way but there is a solution.

Stay away from the water body, they can move inward and have an impact. Flooding is as a result of blocking of drainages. We need to change our standard and mindset. Government needs to be serious and not compromise standards.

Talking about drainages, Nigeria is one of the countries very poor in managing waste what is the way out for us?

Waste is a very serious issue that is why it’s global. You have to reduce waste when you are manufacturing that particular product that’s the only way you reduce waste because the more population increases the more waste is generated.

The only solution is that government should remove its hand from waste and it should be a private business, which is the only solution for now, that is why government is privatizing  many things. It will be affordable for everybody to pay for collection and distribution in the near future.

You need to think globally and act locally, research is all about literature. Visit other countries look at the way they solved waste management issues, you need technocrats and experts. Let’s visit ancient cities like China, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and look at the way they solved their own issue of waste and come back to Nigeria apply it but using our lessons that’s the only way out for now.

The launch of ogoniland cleanup by the FG is been  one year now, have they taken the right step in trying to cut the spillages?

According to the life span, the cleanup will take 23 years, firstly the FG will take their own aspect and then the UN and they have their own policies and procedures whereas Nigeria government has a limitation when it comes to that. There are certain things that can never go beyond what the Nigerian government can do, ours is to have the official commission of the project, the finance government will support it with and the UN.

Thank God we have our former minister who is the second in command in UN, so she is facilitating so also the current minister but there are limitations, it’s beyond something you clean with a broom, you have mangrove, stream and so many things, the land degradation and farming activities which will take a long period of time.

The proposed establishment of the Niger Delta Oil Spillage Management Fund, is it not late that considering that things have gone so bad?

There are many agencies but it’s better to narrow so to have a specific agency in that particular aspect so I think that the Nigerian government is taking the right step.

It has to be monitored and it’s good to be under presidency because some agencies under federal ministries have powers which they abuse but the decorum in presidency under the office of the president or SGF can handle that but you need various stakeholders to be on board.

 

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