- Posted by Kieth Oliver
- On January 19, 2016
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President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abu Dhabi called for greater global cooperation against the devastating effects of climate change to avert disaster for the human race in the 21st century. Giving his address at the opening of the 2016 World Future Energy Summit, President Buhari reaffirmed Nigeria’s readiness to work with the United Arab Emirates and the rest of the world in a collective effort to mitigate the effects of climate change.
In a statement issued by his special adviser media, Femi Adesina, Buhari said: “Africa is already suffering from the consequences of climate change, which include recurrent drought and floods. In Nigeria, the drastic drying up of the Lake Chad to just about 10% of its original size has negatively impacted on the livelihood of millions of people, and contributed in making the region a hotbed of insurgency. “Desert encroachment in Niger, our northern neighbour, and in far northern Nigeria at the rate of several hundred metres per annum has impacted on the existence of man, animal and vegetation, threatening to alter the whole ecological balance of the sub-region.
“In the middle and southern part of Nigeria, land erosion threatens farming, forestry, town and village peripheries and some areas major highways. “Constant and abrupt alteration between floods and droughts prove that climate change is real and, therefore, a global approach and cooperation to combat its effects are vital if the human race is not to face disaster in the 21st century,” President Buhari told participants at the summit.
Noting that the summit was taking place soon after the United Nations Conference on Climate Change held in Paris late last year, President Buhari praised the United Arab Emirates for consistently supporting international action on climate change. “We see Abu Dhabi as a dependable partner in the collective effort to manage climate risks including the attainment of the sustainable development goals by 2030.
“We appreciate your immense contributions worth hundreds of millions of dollars in energy aid to developing countries,” the President said. In a meeting with several ambassadors, heads of mission and diplomats from the United States, Japan, Turkey, Canada, Australia and eight European nations yesterday in his office, the vice president thanked the envoys and their countries “for your attention to matters of the North-East, the very close attention that you pay, and the so many international bodies and agencies who have acted and expressed their wishes to offer assistance.”
In a statement issued by his senior special on media, Laolu Akande, he said the issue of the rehabilitation of the North-East is a “matter close to the president’s heart,” adding that he himself is also very active in the overall coordination of the efforts. According to him, the coordination of the rehabilitation plans is now the critical issue, and expressed the expectation that the envoys would work with the Presidential Committee on the North-East, PCNI, headed by General T.Y. Danjuma.
He explained that the PCNI is now the new structure President Muhammadu Buhari had put in place to coordinate the efforts, just as he clarified that the PCNI now encompasses the Presidential Initiative on the North East, which was the former body in place. The PCNI, he explained, now also includes the Victims’ Support Fund, VSF, headed by T.Y. Danjuma and Safe Schools Initiative formerly in the Federal Finance Ministry.
Prof Osinbajo added that his office would actively and directly be involved in overseeing the new structure in addition to his office’s responsibility to supervise the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, another active agency in the process. The group of ambassadors called “Like-Minded Ambassadors on support for the North-East” was led to the meeting with the Vice President by the United States Ambassador, Mr. James Entwistle, who expressed the interest of the international community to partner with the federal government in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the North East zone of the country destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgency.
The ambassador/head of the European Union delegation in Nigeria, Mr Michel Arrion, also spoke at the meeting, disclosing that the EU had set aside a trust fund he described as a basket fund, from which funds would be drawn to offer assistance, especially in addressing the root causes of crisis in the Sahel region.