By Joan Nwagwu
Abuja – The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, said on Thursday that combating climate change was one of the cardinal objectives of President Muhammadu Buhari led administration.
Ngige made this known while addressing delegates at the ongoing 106th International Labour Conference (ILC) of the International Labour Organisation(ILO), in Geneva, Switzerland with the theme, “Work in a Changing Climate: The Green Initiative.”
The minister said this in a statement signed by Mr Essah Etim, Labour Attaché, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN Office in Geneve.
He expressed Nigeria’s commitment to the Green Initiative as climate change poses the greatest threat to the world especially Africa.
Ngige noted that the adverse effects could be found everywhere in the ecosystem, which have manifested in the difficulties associated with the generation of sustainable income.
He said others adverse effects are employment opportunities, eradication of poverty and the promotion of better livelihood for the citizenry.
According to him, a manifestation of the adverse climatic condition in my country was the recent outbreak of cerebrospinal meningitis, which resulted in the death of over 1000 people.
“They were predisposed by the extreme heat waves which assisted an uncontrollable meningitis bacteria multiplication.
“We therefore cannot but agree with the Director-General, Mr Guy Ryder that the mitigation of climate change is the most paramount element in shaping the present state and future condition of work, ” he said.
The minister, however, said that Nigeria was a signatory to the Paris Agreement since the 71st United Nations General Assembly (UNGA71) and would continue to contribute to the implementation of the initiative.
He said the administration’s commitment to fighting climate change was crystallised in the increasing and substantial budgetary allocations to the sector over the last two years.
“It is also noteworthy that even before the Paris Agreement of 2015, Nigeria has put in place various measures to tackle the challenges of climate change.
“A roadmap was also developed to exit gas flaring in the country by year 2020 and accelerated actions have been taken to reduce desertification through the National Agency for Great Green Wall (NAGGW).
“Machineries have also been put in place to tackle flooding and cleaning up of oil pollution in the Niger Delta region in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, ”he added.
Ngige said to show total commitment to the Paris Agreement, the Government has also taken major steps by putting in place huge investments.
He added that this was in the development of infrastructures targeting Solar, Wind and Hydro, Sovereign National Green Bond (SNGB),y (solar), as well as afforestation projects, among others.
The minister commended the director-general for his efforts to find lasting solutions to the problem and pledged Nigeria’s support and contributions towards finding permanent peace to issues.
“We also support the five year cycle of recurrent discussion with focus on the decent work objectives, beginning with social dialogue at the 107th (2018) session of the ILC.
“We are in favour of an ILO development cooperation in terms of 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, and particularly the arrangement to align the 2018 – 2019 programme on budget in this direction.
“Finally, the Government and people of Nigeria call for the upgrading of the ILO Office in Nigeria to a full Country Office as earlier requested.
“This will effectively serve the interest of the English speaking West African Countries. This will indeed be a Centenary gift to Nigeria.
“We remain committed to the pursuit of an African continent built on security, inclusive growth and sustainable development through Africa’s Agenda 2063.
“Our challenge is how to attract the required resources to finance a recurring deficit national budget occasioned by the volatilities in the global oil market and insurgency especially in the North East of Nigeria.
“In this light, the assistance of the international community will be very critical, ” he said.