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Following the announcement by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan of posting and redeployment of Federal Permanent Secretaries as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, the new Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Environment, Mr Abel Olumuyiwa Enitan has assumed office, tasking staff of the Ministry to maintain the ethics of Federal Civil Service with professionalism and discipline.

Enitan who was redeployed from the Federal Civil Service Commission also emphasized on the need for collective efforts towards the success of the of the environment sector in line with the aspirations of President Buhari’s administration.

Speaking at a brief handing over ceremony in Abuja, Enitan said officials of the Ministry have been doing a great job going by the general progress recorded by the Ministry and the impact its programmes and policies have imparted on addressing the issues of Climate Change, the ecosystems and other environmental challenges in the country.

“Therefore, I am not here to re-invent the wheel but rather to work with you like a family to achieve the mandates of the ministry”, he stated.

He said his posting to the Federal Ministry of Environment is a privilege, pointing out that the Ministry is one whose policies affect positively on the nation and the lives of its people in every facet of live.

While calling for the full support of staff of the Ministry, he encouraged them to uphold the ethics of the Civil Service through hard work, discipline and respect for superiors no matter the challenges they may encounter in the course of discharging their duties.

Earlier, the Director of Planning, Research and Statistics of the Ministry Dr Bolatito Obisesan called on the Directors of the Ministry to extend their experiences and cooperation to the new Permanent Secretary so that they could both make the mandates of the Ministry to be more successful.

“We have been able to raise the Mandate of this Ministry to greater heights in the last few months when I was overseeing the office of the Permanent Secretary.
“This could be attributed to the loyalty, dedication and hard work of the Directors and Staff,” she noted.

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As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the 2020 World Environment Day (WED), the Federal Government said it will tomorrow Friday June 5, 2020, hand over hand over 1 million seedlings to the Kaduna State Government for planting.

Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, who gave this hint during a press briefing on Thursday, warned that over one million plant and animal species risk extinction, largely due to human activities; this is a call to action to combat the accelerating species loss and degradation of nature.

The Minister stated that the one million seedlings being handed over to Kaduna State, is in fulfilment of commitment made by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the 74th UN General Assembly in New York, to plant 25million trees to mitigate the effects of Climate Change in Nigeria.

“As part of on-going efforts to meet Mr. President’s directives on planting of 25 million trees and as a symbolic gesture to commemorate the 2020 World Environment Day in the country, I will be in Kaduna tomorrow Friday, where I will hand over 1 million seedlings to the Kaduna State Government.”

“It is our ardent prayer and hope that the seedlings would be properly utilized to mitigate the effect of biodiversity, climate change and improve on our natural habitats.”

“In addition, the Federal Government had also set up a National Forestry Trust Fund under the forestry Department of the Ministry. In the same vein, the Ministry in partnership with Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) with the support of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), are working together on coalition on nature, referred to as Nature Means Business which will target the private sector and Sub-nationals to act on agreed environmental principles that will guide their business operation to reduce the impact of business on biodiversity loss.

“It is worthy to note that our development support partner, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation program (REDD+) is currently running in 6 states in Nigeria covering all the forest zones. This is a program that conserves already existing forest and enhances carbon stock” he said.

The Minister also reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to the Global Biodiversity Framework under the convention on Biological Diversity, stressing that Nigeria is leading the ECOWAS Member-States on Post 2020 Biodiversity Frame work.

Mahmood Abubakar, regretted that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the traditional activities such as tree-planting and public workshops which were undertaken to celebrate the day in the past and has necessitated new approaches in advocacy and communication.

He described as apt the theme of the 2020 World Environment Day ‘‘Time for Nature’’, is indeed very appropriate, considering the fact that Researchers and Scientist have established COVID-19 to be zoonotic.

According to him, the UNEP, 2020 is a year for urgency, ambition and action to address the crisis facing nature.

“It is also an opportunity to more fully incorporate nature-based solutions into global climate action, especially as commemorating the day has become a powerful platform to accelerate, amplify and engage people, communities and governments around the world to take action on critical environmental challenges facing the planet”.

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Abubakar made the disclosure while speaking with State House correspondents on Wednesday, June 3, 2020 in Abuja, saying that he had presented a report on the ministry’s mandate to a meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC). The virtual meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The Ogoni cleanup in the past has been a story. Finally, President Buhari came in 2016 and the contract was given out.

“We are currently cleaning 21 plus 36 sites in Ogoni land. All these are impacted areas with hydrocarbon — a very big project.

“The world is watching this project because of the nature of hydrocarbons and what they can cause to the environment and the people living there.’’ The minister said that planting of 25 million trees was also in the fore burner and that the ministry was collaborating with state governments on the project.

Abubakar said that the Federal Ministry of Environment is one of the implanting ministries of the 774,000 jobs approved by the president.

“So, those skilled and unskilled labours are coming through the ministry. About 200,000 people will be employed plus additional 2,000, who are going to be employed by the erosion department of the ministry.’’ He said that the ministry was also handling waste recycling, describing waste management as a big project.

Abubakar said that waste management entailed waste reduction, waste recycling, waste re-use and waste recovery, among others. According to him, it is no longer fashionable to produce, use and dispose waste.

The minister said that his report to FEC also covered efforts being made on erosion control in the South East and the upper North areas of the country. “We have two programmes on erosion control. One is being handled by the department in the Ministry of Environment, which is in charge of mostly conventional erosion.

“Then, we have the big one which is being sponsored by the World Bank and we call that Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project. “The project deals with gully erosion — huge erosion that will gulp houses and you know South-East is prone to this type of erosion because of the geologic nature of the area.’’

On job creation, the minister said that the Ogoni cleanup had created 765 jobs, adding that more jobs would be created through the cleanup. He said that a programme on training of 400 women in agriculture, aquaculture and poultry was also underway.

“We have the National Generator Emission Control Programme that will be coming on line. “These are jobs that will be crated immediately after COVID-19,’’ said the minister.

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Distinguished Gentlemen of the Press,

I am delighted to welcome you all to this briefing, which is intended to kick-start the activities of the 2020 World Environment Day in Nigeria.

Unfortunately for all nations of the World, this year’s celebration is being held amidst the ravaging effects of the novel COVID-19 pandemic. While we continue to battle with the crisis, as environmentalists, we must continue to contribute our quota in the collective efforts being made to contain the spread of the pandemic.

It is for this reason that the United Nations deem it fit to address biodiversity with the theme ‘‘Time for Nature’’, with a focus on its role in providing the essential infrastructure that supports life on earth and human development. Over one million plant and animal species risk extinction, largely due to human activities; this is a call to action to combat the accelerating species loss and degradation of nature.

Distinguished Gentlemen of the Press, the theme is indeed very appropriate, considering the fact that Researchers and Scientist have established COVID-19 to be zoonotic. In order to fully address and prevent future pandemics therefore,
we must Restore, Conserve and Protect biodiversity as key antidotes to COVID-19 recovery.

According to UNEP, 2020 is a year for urgency, ambition and action to address the crisis facing nature; it is also an opportunity to more fully incorporate nature-based solutions into global climate action, especially as commemorating the day has become a powerful platform to accelerate, amplify and engage people, communities and governments around the world to take action on critical environmental challenges facing the planet.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has impacted the traditional activities such as tree-planting and public workshops which were undertaken to celebrate the day in the past and has necessitated new approaches in advocacy and communication.

In this regard, the Ministry is using an alternative online platform for delivering the advocacy for this year’s WED. The online event will be hosted on ‘zoom’ with a series of talks as regards our commitment to Biodiversity Conservation.

Iimplore you all to join the conversation by registering to participate in the Webinar coming up tomorrow Friday, as from 11:00 am.

Biodiversity is the foundation for life and there are myriads of benefits amongst which are: livelihoods and sustainable development, improvement and delivery of food security, growth, increase in job opportunity, strengthening of global healthcare support systems.  The Ecosystem is the baseline that holds all of these together. Human interaction with the Ecosystem must therefore remain balanced, otherwise we risk disrupting nature with their consequence as we are seeing with the COVID 19 Pandemic.

Our climate, physical environment and vegetation zones in Nigeria endow our country with a very diverse ecosystem, species of fauna and flora. The forests in Nigeria is currently estimated to extend to around 9.6 million hectares, this we are expanding with added efforts of the Great Green Wall, REDD+ and the Green Bonds supported afforestation Projects amongst several others.

From all this, we must ensure that Post COVID recovery is tied in with our Climate actions and Sustainable Development Goals. We as a Global community have to stay on track with our Climate Targets for us to recover Greener and better for people and planet. Biodiversity remains the answer to a number of sustainable development challenges that we all face. From nature-based solutions to climate, to food and water security, and sustainable livelihoods, biodiversity remains the basis for a sustainable future.

Gentlemen of the Press, the Federal Government is fully committed to the Global Biodiversity Framework under the convention on Biological Diversity, and Nigeria is leading the ECOWAS Member-States on Post 2020 Biodiversity Frame work. It is as a result of this commitment that at the 74thUN General Assembly in New York, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR made a commitment to plant 25million trees to mitigate the effects of Climate Change in Nigeria. This process is being driven by the Ministry of Environment and the agencies under the ministry like the National Great Green Wall Agency.

As part of on-going efforts to meet Mr. President’s directives on planting of 25 million trees and as a symbolic gesture to commemorate the 2020 World Environment Day in the country, I will be in Kaduna tomorrow Friday, where I will hand over 1 million seedlings to the Kaduna State Government. It is our ardent prayer and hope that the seedlings would be properly utilized to mitigate the effect of biodiversity, climate change and improve on our natural habitats.

In addition, the Federal Government had also set up a National Forestry Trust Fund under the forestry Department of the Ministry. In the same vein, the Ministry in partnership with Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) with the support of World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), are working together on coalition on nature, referred to as Nature Means Business which will target the private sector and Sub-nationals to act on agreed environmental principles that will guide their business operation to reduce the impact of business on biodiversity loss. It is worthy to note that our development support partner, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation program (REDD+) is currently running in 6 states in Nigeria covering all the forest zones. This is a program that conserves already existing forest and enhances carbon stock.

Finally, as a Government, 2020 is indeed a critical year for our commitments to preserve and restore biodiversity. As a nation, Nigeria remains committed to maintaining a healthy environment and safeguarding our ecosystems. The pandemic has shown us that we need to find ways to live in harmony with one another and also with nature. Thank you.

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As Nigeria joins the rest of the World to mark the 2020 World Earth Day amid the novel Covid-19 pandemic, the Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor has called for renewed and concerted global action to end the pandemic, and scale up efforts to preserve and restore natural ecosystems, enhance waste management systems and mitigate climate change.

The World Earth Day is celebrated every 22 April annually, and this year’s commemoration marks 50 years of the modern environmental movement started in 1970 that gave a voice to an emerging public consciousness about the state of our planet.

To this end, Sharon Ikeazor noted that “it is a day that stimulates worldwide awareness of climate change and the environment and should therefore enhance stronger government political commitment and massive public action to address all environmental issues, including Covid-19 deadly pandemic.”

According to her, climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable.

The Minister disclosed that to mark the event here in Nigeria, “we will focus on inspiring, sensitizing and enlightening Nigerians to take action to mitigate on climate change in line  with this year’s Earth Day theme - Climate Action, and see the opportunities it presents.

“This year will be the first Digital Earth Day largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in light of this, the Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the British High Commission in Nigeria, will be organizing a webinar to present National climate action, discuss the relationship between climate change and health, as well as sustainable recovery from COVID-19. It is the first of its kind and we are taking advantage of technology to reach people in Nigeria and beyond with our message.

“Climate change is a reality that is having disproportionate negative impacts on especially the poor in developing countries mostly felt in our local communities here in Nigeria”. She expressed optimism that there is however, a growing recognition that affordable, scalable solutions are available now to enable us all to advance to cleaner, more resilient societies and economies, turning the challenges of climate action into opportunities.

Against the backdrop that COVID-19 has been reported to be a zoonotic disease that passed from animal to human, the Minister believes that Nigeria is on the right track in addressing coronavirus disease as well as other life threatening diseases such as Lassa Fever and the likes.

She said the Federal Government has scaled up its commitment to taking action to mitigate, adapt and promote the capacity for resilience to the impacts of climate change in the country through the ratification of the Paris Agreement by Mr. President, strengthening existing institutional framework to ensure effective coordination of climate change activities and other actions.

According to the Minister of State, the Environment Ministry, through the Department of Climate Change, in fulfilment of the Paris Agreement has developed a draft Sectoral Action Plan (SAP) for the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

She said: "We are currently reviewing the National Policy on Climate Change for more effectiveness with readiness for Nigeria’s National Adaptation Plan Framework for Climate Change (NAPs – Framework).

"Also, there is a sustained effort to sensitize the citizenry to adopt clean technologies to meet Nigeria's emission reduction target; even as we have developed the National Forest Reference Emission Factor Level (FREL) and submitted it to the UNFCCC.

“We are thinking ahead because we want the environment to be a priority as we recover from COVID-19 to enable us build a healthier and more sustainable future” she said.

Ikeazor further revealed that the Ministry also developed a Climate Change Resilience Action Plan for the Lake Chad Basin, and then incorporated climate change components into the Disaster Risk Reduction Policy for Nigeria, in conjunction with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), among other actions taken.(END)

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The Honourable Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, has sent his solidarity and words of empathy to Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Kaduna State Governor, who yesterday was confirmed to have tested positive to coronavirus.

Dr. Abubakar, in a post he tweeted on his official Twitter handle on Saturday, wished Gov. El-Rufai a speedy recovery and full recovery from the pandemic.

"Your Excellency, Gov @elrufai I wish you a speedy and full recovery from your illness. Get well soon," reads his tweet.

The Minister, in a series of tweets thereafter, noted that he was pleased to learn about the ways in which Nigerians are coming together to support the containment of COVID-19.

He however, said the increase in cases over the last few days according to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) update indicated that Nigerians need to take more serious measures to collectively contain the virus.

Dr. Abubakar , a member of the Presidential Task Force on the control of the spread of coronavirus code named #PTF-COVID19, urged Nigerians to continue heeding to advice of experts and Government on COVID-19.

He said: "As more people are being  encouraged to go into self isolation, we must remind everyone to stay home & practice social distancing. We know this is immensely difficult for many of us, but we know this is the right thing to do. We can, & must take these steps together. @NigeriaGov.

"The #PresidentialTaskForce of the @NigeriaGov on the control of the spread of COVID-19 is continuing to take necessary action, but we all need Nigerians to do their part. Avoid large gatherings, practice social distancing, wash your hands, cover your cough and stay home."

On the measures adopted by his Ministry, Dr. Mahmoud Mohammed, disclosed that the Department of Pollution Control and Environmental Health, as well as the Environmental Health Officers Council of Nigeria have since deployed their personnel across the country disinfecting and decontaminating public places such as markets, motor parks, airports, schools, and other congested areas in conjunction with relevant authorities all in an effort to contain further spread of the epidemic.

This, the Minister, said is part of the Ministry's deliberate and strategic effort aimed at containing the spread of the deadly virus.

"We have also activated Environmental Health Desks in all the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the country to vigorously pursue grassroots advocacy, offer guidance and counseling, and to disinfect and decontaminate all risk-prone areas," he added.


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It said this was key to implementing the Federal Government’s Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programme for the Electrical Electronics sector.

The organisation spoke in Lagos at the inaugural meeting of EPRON Advisory Council.

EPRON is the Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) Industry led social enterprise which co-ordinates “efficient, cost-effective and environmentally sound management of end of life EEE.”

The meeting featured private and public sector members of EPRON’s board, including Director-General/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of National Environmental Standard and Regulatory Enforcement Agency (NESREA) Prof Aliyu Jauro, and Managing Director of Globetech Remedial Ltd Mr Ola Oresanya.

Prof. Jauro observed that EPR shifted responsibility for waste management from government to private sector, “obliging producers, importers and/or sellers to internalise waste management costs in their product prices and ensure environmentally safe handling of their products…”

According to him, the “EPR programme has come to stay and it is an important strategy of the Federal Government to promote circular economy in e-waste management aid control.

“The decision of the council is key to the operation of the EPR value chain and it will have a direct bearing on the environment and human health.”

For Oresanya, who spoke for EPRON’s interim board, the effective operation of e-waste Producer Responsibility Organisations (PROs) contained dynamics, such as “appropriate enforcement, involvement of the informal sector, development of appropriate collection and recycling standards, determination of collection incentives and fees for treatment of hazardous fractions.

“All of these are not issues a Producer-led PRO should face alone, you will agree with me that a multi-stakeholder approach is required. In that regard, the board of EPRON requires the collaboration of other critical stakeholders to drive the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) plan of the Electrical and Electronic Equipment sector.

“Hence the need for an advisory council and this inaugural meeting. This council would represent the interest of all stakeholder groups: Producers, Recyclers, the Informal sector, Private and Public sector and environmental authorities who would be responsible for overseeing the entire system.”

Other EPRON members at the event were Comptroller-General of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Muhammed Babandede; Director-General of Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) Babatunde Irukera, represented by head of FCCPC’s Lagos Office Suzie Onwuka.

Present too were Director-General of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Osita Aboloma; Director-General of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir; and CEO of E-Terra Technologies Ltd Ifeanyi Ochonogor, among others.

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Speaking at 2020 World Wildlife Day, the Minister of State Environment, Barr. Sharon Ikeazor, called on Nigerians to protect wildlife and plant species to stimulate awareness on conservation and arouse public action.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Wadinga Bakari, she said the government is ready to give support for its protection, as it is a signatory to a number of treaties on conservation of Endangered Species.

There are about 7,895 plant species and over 22,000 vertebrate and invertebrate species which include; insects, fish, birds and mammals. There is a need to rescue these natural resources.”

She also added, effective management of these enormous resources in actualising the Sustainable Development Goals, noting that it’s time to balance the success recorded in the fight against wildlife crimes.

Ikeazor however, argued that to curb this trend, the Nigeria CITES Management Authority form a Joint Task Force to check Illegal Trade of Wildlife Resources partnership with several agencies.

“This inter-agencies collaborations have resulted in intercepting wildlife resources worth over N10 million in 2019. We want to conserve wild species which are now almost driven into extinction due to over exploitation.”

Similarly, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres has enjoined the world to ensure commitment towards sustainable human relationship with the planet.

The Secretary-General in a message to mark the 2020 United Nations World Wildlife Day reminded the people of the need to preserve and sustainably use the variety of life on earth and keeps the planet safe for future generation.

Guterres observed that a world of thriving biodiversity provides the foundation needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of a world of dignity and opportunity for all people on a healthy planet.

“On this World Wildlife Day, let us remind ourselves of our duty to preserve and sustainably use the vast variety of life on the planet. Let us push for a more caring, thoughtful and sustainable relationship with nature.

The global celebration of the United Nations World Wildlife Day, was marked by the representatives of UN Member States, UN System organizations, international and non-governmental organisations, rural communities and youth gathered at the UN Headquarters in New York and Geneva to mark the day at two high-level events.

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Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, the Minister of Environment, made this known while briefing newsmen on the Environmental Health Response to COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja. According to Abubakar, the ministry is taking this measure to support the Ministry of Health’s containment strategy against the disease.

He said that the large pool of Environmental Health Volunteers would be mobilised for this purpose. The minister said the EHO would be deployed to public places, including markets, schools, motor parks, train stations, and similar places would be put under surveillance. Abubakar said that based on the foregoing, the Nigerian response needs to be comprehensive, multistakeholder and multisectoral in nature learning from countries presently at war with the novel COVID-19.

“International best practices of instituting cordon sanitaire and social distancing in our communities where needed will be utilised to limit contact of people with those that may be infected with the viral disease. “In the same vein, environmental decontamination and disinfection shall be undertaken in high exposure areas with a view of killing the enveloped viruses,” he said.

He, however, urged the ministry of the environment at the state level to be proactive and key into the preparedness in their respective states. “I hereby charge EHO in states and local ports to engage butchers to ensure they do not handle, slaughter, dress and prepare meats originating from wild animals or sick livestock which have died from unknown causes.” He also advised Nigerians to regularly wash their hands, cover their mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing.

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Minister Environment Minister, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar today acclaimed that “the evidence based achievements of Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) has called for government consideration of transmuting the project into an Agency”.

He said turning the project into an agency at both federal and state levels will ensure sustainability, especially in watershed management.” In his remarks at the joint meeting of Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), World Bank (WB) and NEWMAP States Steering Committee Chairmen (States Honorable Commissioners of Environment) on the closing date of NEWMAP, Dr. Mohammad highlighted NEWMAP achievements from project effectiveness, and thanked the Federal Ministry of Finance and the World Bank for their support to the project, as well as in actualizing the plan for NEWMAP II which will focus on reversing landscape and livelihood degradation in arid and semi-arid zones of the country.

“As at December 2019, NEWMAP as a flagship project of the Ministry, has reclaimed 1,722.41 hectares of degraded lands, with reduction in loss of lives and infrastructure, a phenomenon that earned the project many Awards on sustainable land management at local and international levels,” he noted.

He lauded the Project staff and National Project Coordinator, NEWMAP Dr. Salisu Dahiru for the implementation success, project delivery, Team work and leadership qualities which is obvious with the level of results recorded by the Project.

The World Bank Country Director, represented by Dr. Amos Abu, Senior Environment and Natural Resources Specialist, (World Bank country office Nigeria) and NEWMAP Task Team Leader (1) reiterated the need to ensure effective exit strategy on NEWMAP and the actualization of proposed NEWMAP 11.

He thanked the minister for his continued support and also appealed for the federal government continuous collaboration to ensure project sustainability. Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Environment Dr. Bakari Wadinga represented by NEWMAP National Project Coordinator, Dr.Salisu Dahiru, advised Commissioners of participating States to adhere strictly to project institutional arrangements while they should look at the option of non-cost extension to enable speedy completion of awarded sites and related studies.

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As the world grapples with the spread of the novel Covid-19 pandemic with its effects on the environment and livelihood, Nigeria has restated its commitment and support to the Bureau of the Conference of the Parties (COP) with the UK and its Italian partners’ decision to postpone COP26 UN Climate Change Conference until November, 2021.

The annual UN COP Meeting on Climate Change was originally slated to take place in Glasgow, United Kingdom by November 2020, with the pre-COP events to be held by co-host Italy in September and October but was postponed due to Covid-19 crisis.

The Nigeria’s Minister of State for the Environment, Sharon Ikeazor disclosed the Federal Government’s support in a tweet following the announcement of a new date slated for 1- 12 November 2021 by the COP Bureau after its meeting on 28 May, 2020.

Ikeazor tweeted that the new date for COP26 will give Nigeria enough time to prepare and deliver on negotiations mandates while maintaining momentum on Climate Action.

Similarly, the Regional Ambassador for Sub-Saharan Africa on COP26, Paul Arkwright in his tweet described the new dates as good news, ‘‘looking forward to working with Africa to maintain momentum on climate change, ensuring focus on finance, energy transition and adaptation as partners for African host of COP27.

The primary considerations for the new date that was brought about by the COVID-19 crisis, were to safeguard the health and safety of COP26 participants, to ensure inclusiveness and maximise the potential to build climate ambition.  The COP Bureau’s decision to postpone the global annual event was disclosed in a letter jointly sign by COP26 Envoy, John Murton and COP26 Lead Negotiator Archie Young.

‘‘Our priorities when considering the new date were: the health of participants, the representation of Parties and Non-Party stakeholders, allowing time for preparation of work to deliver on negotiations mandates and the ambitious and inclusive event we are committed to, and operational considerations. Everyone we consulted agreed with these priorities’’.

The new date, according to COP Bureau’s letter, would present the lowest risk of further postponement, and the best chance of delivering an inclusive and ambitious COP26, having consulted widely with stakeholders and particularly with the African Group given implications for the timing of COP27.

Ikeazor further stressed that, Nigeria will keep the momentum of mitigating climate change in gear while maintaining the World Health Organisation Safety Protocols on Covid-19 pandemic and work on enhancing our National Determined Contributions and raising the ambition for climate action aim at rebuilding post Covid-19 recovery for a greener, resilient and sustainable environment in line with the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.

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Ahead of reopening of Nigeria’s airspace to domestic flight operations, the federal government has revealed that plans are underway to disinfect airports and airplanes across the six geopolitical zones in the country as one its safety measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 had on Monday announced that airlines could resume flight operations from June 21st.

Addressing journalists on the commemoration of the 2020 World Environment Day in Abuja, the Minister of Environment, Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar, said appropriate chemicals to be applied to aircraft and certain areas of the airports have been chosen by owners of aircraft to avoid safety bridges.

He noted that other areas to be disinfected included schools, motor parks, train stations and markets, among others.

Abubakar said that the ministry also awaits the required response from relevant authority to accelerate the disinfection and decontamination of schools in the country.

He said that Covid-19 will remain for a while, but there will be lots of advocacy and enlightenment to promote personal hygiene in schools.

He advised private school owners to ensure that their schools are disinfected by companies that are registered by the Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria.

Speaking further, the minister said Nigeria as a country must restore, conserve and protect biodiversity as the key antidote to Covid-19 recovery.

According to him, ”As individuals, communities and stakeholders, we must put an end to practices that compromise our ability to connect with nature. Activities like gas flaring, depletion of the mangroves for firewood, fishing with dynamite and other unwholesome practices inimical to present and future generation should stop.”

On his part, the representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Edwin Edeh, said the pandemic is a reminder that countries need to manage outbreaks in multi sectoral scales linking environment, agriculture and other sectors to control and prevent further emerging diseases.

He called on governments at all levels to be committed to invest in water and sanitation as well and appealed to the citizens not to destroy nature.

Similarly, Oxfam, an environment group, also called on citizens to use this year’s environment day commemoration as an avenue to urge government to deliver on its commitments to safeguard nature, end pollution and ensure that environmental laws are upheld.

It said it is worthy of note that losses in biodiversity and habitat can increase the spread of infectious diseases and viruses through indiscriminate felling of trees which encourages endangered species of these habitats to migrate to places of safety carrying along with them diseases as they move.

“Stringent measures should be taken to avoid indiscriminate felling of trees, safeguard aquatic life, save our forests thus maintaining biodiversity,” the group added.

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The Honourable Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar in the company of Dr. Baba Yakubu Ag. Registrar, Environmental Health Officers Registration Council of Nigeria (EHORECON) and other Senior Officials of EHORECON yesterday visited the Sir. Kashim Ibrahim House in order to support the efforts of the Government of Kaduna State in it's fight against COVID-19 by donating essential items which include Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), hand sanitizers, chemicals for decontamination and disinfection, and face masks.

The Governor of Kaduna State, His Excellency, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the deputy Governor, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe and other senior government officials warmly received the Minister and his entourage.

The Minister thanked the Governor for the warm reception and also commended the state government's effort in trying to contain the spread of the virus. "We feel that you have done and are still doing what you can to not only contain it here in Kaduna state but the nation in general because by containing it here and reducing the number of infected persons who will eventually travel to other states spreading the virus, you're not just doing it for Kaduna but for the whole of Nigeria and we thank you very much once again for your effort," said the Minister.

Thereafter, the Minister proceeded to Zango, a suburb of Tudun Wada, Kaduna to flag off the decontamination/disinfection exercise of areas most prone to COVID-19 in the state. The Minister explained that the choice of Zango as the place of flag off for the exercise was informed by it's importance and economic contribution to the state.

Dr. Abubakar reiterated the determination of the Federal Ministry of Environment to decontaminate/disinfect all the areas that are at a high risk for COVID-19

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This was announced by the Minister of Environment, Mohammed Mahmoud at the Presidential Task Force briefing on COVID-19 on Monday in Abuja.

Mahmoud disclosed that his Ministry would work with the Federal Ministry of Education to get the required information on schools nationwide.

According to the Minister, “We are initiating a programme of decontaminating and disinfecting our schools before they open. “Because subsequently in the phases (of reopening the lockdown), I believe we will get to that point when we start opening the schools.

“So, we will be liaising with the Federal Ministry of Education to make sure we have the needed data to carry out the exercise.” Mahmood said, “Today we will like to brief you on our first video conference with our Environmental Health Sanitation desks across the country, the 36 states plus the FCT.

“Also in attendance was a representative of the World Health Organisation, the purpose of which is to build additional capacity and to reiterate adherence to the guidelines in this response to COVID-19.”

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Towards meeting the demands of the Paris agreement, the Federal Government has begun review of its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).

The move is being implemented by the Federal Ministry of Environment through the Department of Climate Change (DCC) and supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNDP).

UNDP has been supporting the implementation of Nigeria’s NDC through its large portfolio of climate and environment projects and flagship programme on NDC – the NDC Support Programme (NDC SP).

Nigeria a member of the NDC Partnership, under the Climate Action Enhancement Package (CAEP) that provides technical and financial assistance to the country’s NDC revision through the Climate Promise: UNDP’s commitment to support 100 countries in the revision of their NDC by end of 2020.

Under the UNDP intervention in Nigeria, the revision process will focus on the water sector, short-lived climate pollutants, forestry and other nature-based, gender integration as well as whole-of-society participation and the social and employment impacts of NDC measures.

Other members of the NDC Partnership that responded to the Nigeria’ requests for support for the NDC revision through the Partnership’s Climate Action Enhancement Package (CAEP), include: Islamic Development Bank (ISDB), 2050 Pathways, UN Environment and GIZ.

The 2050 Pathways will provide support to develop a long-term Low Emissions strategy, ISDB will support the stakeholder consultations, GIZ will focus on off grid/renewable energy targets whilst UN Environment on adopting appropriate technologies to achieve NDC targets. This support is scheduled to finish by the end of 2020.

To jump-start the process, a one-day Inception Workshop on the NDC Revison and Implementation Planning was held in Abuja last week, as part of the NDC Partnership Support Unit. A team from UNDP had a five-day joint mission to Nigeria to kick-off the programme, and to assess the social, economic and employment impacts of NDC policies.

UNDP’s Deputy Resident Representative, Lealem Dinku in his opening remark, noted that the current national climate targets under the Paris agreement are inadequate.

“It is a reality we all share, which is why UNDP launched the Climate Promise on the margin of the last UNGA during the UN Secretary General Climate Change Summit, in which Nigeria featured prominently.

“Our commitment is to work with countries to make their NDCs more technically robust and include new ways governments can step up their climate actions and finance these bold new goals,” he said.

According to Dinku, the event is an opportunity for their support team and the NDC Partnership to provide technical support to Nigeria to revise its NDCs through an inclusive and transparent procedure, which offers opportunity to engagement with government, academia, civil society organisations and the private sectors and development partners.

He said: “A vital element for a successful enhancement of the NDC is a strong political will and societal ownership at national- and sub-national levels.  It is a demonstration of UNDP’s strong commitments to keeping the climate promise to Nigeria in recognition of President Mohammadu Buhari’s exemplary commitment to tackling the climate emergency.”

Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Environment, Dr Bakari Wadinga, stated that, under the NDC process, Nigeria is seeking to work with partners to enhance its commitment and realise opportunities to raise ambition.

The Director, Department of Climate Change, Ministry of Environment, in his presentation, said Nigeria had committed itself to reducing emission by 20 per cent by 2030.

Tarfa said that, for the country to achieve the commitment, the department had identified five priority sectors in the country. They are agriculture, transportation, oil and gas, industry and power sectors.


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The Special Guest of Honour, Prince Clement Agba (Honourable Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning)

The Guest of Honour, Ms. Makiko Okumura (Chief Representative, JICA Office, Nigeria)

The Chief Host, Alhaji Muhammed Bello (Honourable Minister of FCT)

The Royal Father of the Day, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Auwal Musa Ijakoro II (Sarkin Bwari)

The Host, Ahmed Agberankhe (President, JICA Alumni Association of Nigeria)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to speak to you this afternoon and to most cordially welcome you to the Annual Anniversary Celebration of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Alumni Association of Nigeria (JAAN), tagged JICA DAY. I am highly honored to chair this auspicious event. The theme of this year’s celebration is “The Future We Deserve; The Environment Perspective”

The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is an Agency that is chartered with assisting economic and social growth in developing countries and the promotion of international cooperation. JICA is part of Japan's official development assistance effort, with a role in providing technical cooperation and other types of assistance. Its core development programs (aid modalities) includes the technical assistance programs for capacity development in a wide range of fields, including medical, industrial and agriculture. A lot of Nigerian Government officials, who are still in service, have benefited from travel to Japan on various long and short term training under these technical assistance programs.

It was interesting to find out that the beneficiaries of these programs have now formed an Alumni Association. The JICA Alumni Association in Nigeria (JAAN) is a non-profit organization established in 1989 for Nigerians who have participated in the various training programs conducted in Japan. The Association has been involved in wide-ranging activities, including collaboration in the activities of the Japanese embassy and JICA Nigeria office and community services.

It has also come to my knowledge that to further sustain and impact the knowledge gained from their training in Japan, JICA Nigeria has introduced the Follow-up cooperation scheme for Ex-participants. The scheme is aimed at assisting Ex-participants who are willing to utilize and transfer their knowledge and experience in Japan to their colleagues or the society at large. It covers the following areas: Training workshop, Research and study, Publishing text books, Collection of latest information, Procurement of equipment, etc.

At this point, I would like to thank the Japanese Government for funding the 10 month’s “study on available sustainable alternative materials to plastics and innovative packaging and recycling technologies”, which commenced last month. I assure you of the cooperation of the Federal Ministry of Environment in your efforts at tackling environmental pollution and mitigating the effects of climate change.

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am not known for long speeches. So at this point, I would like to wish JAAN well as they mark another year’s anniversary.

Thank you.

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As Nigeria joins the rest of the World to mark the 2020 World Wildlife Day, the HonourableMinister of State, Environment, Chief Sharon Ikeazor, Esq. has called on Nigerians to protectwildlife   and plant species to support  the  Federal   Government’s   effort  at   tackling  illegalwildlife  trade across  international   ports  and border  posts of  the  country  in line  with  theConvention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The World Wildlife Day (WWD) celebrated annually is one of  the most important globalannual event dedicated to/wildlife and its protection. It is a day that stimulates awareness onWildlife Conservation and arouses political will, attention, and public action.

The theme forthis year is: “Sustaining all life on Earth”.   Ikeazor stated that the theme is timely and all-encompassing as biodiversity is critically  endangered and there is a need to rescue thesenatural resources and the planet at large.She restates the Federal Government readiness to give maximum support for the protection ofwildlife   and   its   sustainability   as   Nigeria   is   a   signatory   to   a   number   of   treaties   on   theconservation of Endangered Species.  

While reiterating Nigeria’s commitment to the fightagainst illegal wildlife trade, she noted that Nigeria joined other 182 nations to sign and ratifythe   International   CITES   Convention   in   1974,   and   to   give   credence   to   this   Convention, Nigeria promulgated the Endangered Species Decree No. 11 in 1985, which is now enactedas Endangered Species Act 2016. Chief Ikeazor represented by the Permanent Secretary of Environment, Dr. Wadinga Bakaridisclosed that  Nigeria is endowed with enormous biodiversity resources of both plant andanimal   species.  

‘‘There   are   about   7,895   plant   species   and   over   22,000   vertebrate   andinvertebrate species which include; insects, fish, birds and mammals. Thus showing the depthof natural resources found within the geographical boundary of the country’’. The effective  management  of  these  enormous resources  in  actualizing  the United  NationSustainable Development Goals calls for the celebration of the World Wildlife Day.   Shehowever reiterates that this is not a day to just dine and wine but rather, it’s time to check andbalance the success recorded in the fight against wildlife crimes and also improve awarenesson the threat of the unsustainable harvest of our wildlife resources.

Over the years, Nigeria has been recognized as a transit route by major wildlife traffickers inthe perpetration of their illegal crimes. These traffickers according to her, harvest enormouswildlife resources such as Elephant tusks, Pangolin scales, Hippopotamus hooves and theirderivatives   in   the   Natural   Reserves   of   many   East   African   countries   such   as   Kenya,Cameroun, Tanzania etc. and transit them through our Country’s porous borders.

However, tocurb   this   trend,   the   Nigeria CITES   Management   Authority   form   a   Joint  Task   Force   inCombatting Illegal Trade of Wildlife Resources with several Agencies such as the Police(Interpol unit), Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Immigration Service, NESREA, FAAN, Ministry   of   Justice   and   many   more   through   which   proper   awareness,   dissemination   andexchange of information is carried out resulting in strong inter- agency collaboration to curbthe menace of wildlife trafficking in the Country.

This   inter-agencies   collaborations   according   to   her,   resulted   in   the   arrest,   seizure   andsubsequent prosecution of wildlife traffickers in their numbers at several locations within thecountry with the Nigerian Customs Services in 2019, intercepted wildlife resources worthover10 million naira.Ikeazor reaffirmed the ministry’s role as focal point of CITES implementation in Nigeria andits commitment to conserve wild species which according to her were now almost driven intoextinction due to over exploitation, habitat change and illicit trafficking. She, however, addedthat it is the desire of the ministry to continue to create awareness on large scale knowingfully well  that  solving  environmental   issues   will   require   truly   comprehensive   action   andresponse   at   the   local   and   international   levels,   as   the   illegal   trade   in   wildlife   resourcestranscend borders.

In Nigeria, efforts have been made with considerable successes towards securing the survivalof endangered species of wild fauna and flora through the establishment of National Parksacross the country in an effort to safeguard the surviving endangered species, she added thatformation of Joint Task Force in Combating Illegal Wildlife Trade in Nigeria, training ofJudges specialized in  wildlife related matters, with  vigorous awareness  and re-orientationamong the citizenry and the proposed drive to include wildlife course in the Para-militarytraining centers.

Ikeazor called for attitudinal change and advocacy to save the environmentand its endangered species.

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The Minister who flagged-off the programme tagged 'de-ratization,' in Rigasa, Kaduna said the nature and location of environment determines the survival of Corona Virus Disease, (COVID 19), Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and Lassa Fever, among other vector borne diseases in the country.

Dr. Abubakar noted that the physical environment, being the most significant determinant of health undoubtedly plays an important role in disease causation.

"It is imperative to ensure the reduction of rodent population through sustainable use of safe, effective and easy to handle rodenticides in a chemical method called de-ratization. This approach is essential in curtailing the breeding of rodents especially the mammalian rat," he said.

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The world’s leading body for assessing the science related to climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has kick off a meeting yesterday in Paris to consider the outline of the Synthesis Report for the Sixth Assessment Report, which will provide policymakers in 2022 with the most up-to-date scientific information related to climate change.

The Synthesis Report will integrate the findings of all the reports that the IPCC is working on in its current assessment cycle for the Sixth Assessment Report. It is timed to be available in 2022, one year before the first global stocktake under the Paris Agreement when governments will review the targets they set under the accord and their progress towards implementing them.

Governments agreed in Paris in 2015 to respond to climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels while pursuing efforts to hold it to 1.5ºC. Each government decides its own actions in furtherance of this goal, known as Nationally Determined Contributions. They agreed to review progress towards the goal in a global stocktake every five years starting in 2023.

The report, due to be released in the first part of 2022, will present the latest state of climate knowledge by drawing on information from these other IPCC reports. It will serve as the basis for international negotiations and will be ready in time for the first global stocktake under the Paris Agreement in 2023.

The 52nd Session of the IPCC, hosted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), runs from February 24 to 28, 2020. Among other businesses, it will also elect a member of the Bureau of the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories and launch the regular review of IPCC procedures.

“Like all IPCC products, the Synthesis Report will be policy-relevant,” said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee. “It will help policymakers in government at all levels and decision-makers in business and civil society develop climate-resilient development pathways and connect climate action to economic and societal concerns and options,” he told the opening session of the meeting.

Over the past 18 months, the IPCC has released three special reports – on global warming of 1.5ºC, on land use, and on the ocean and cryosphere – and a methodology report. The three IPCC Working Groups are now preparing their contributions to the Sixth Assessment Report, which will be released in 2021.

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The Minister made this revelation today while declaring open the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Programme (KCEP) project stakeholders’ inception workshop on, “Improving Energy Efficiency in the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Cooling Sector organised by the Federal Ministry of Environment” in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in Keffi, Nasarawa State.

According to him “ it is instructive to note that my Ministry has been implementing the Montreal Protocol’s Programme to phase out the use of Ozone Depleting Substances in all sectors of our economy and over the years have achieved the protocol’s phase-out targets of 2010 for Halons, Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Methyl Bromite, Carbon Tetrachloride among others”

Speaking further, the Minister reiterated the commitment of The Federal Government of Nigeria to phase out the use of Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), an Ozone-Depleting Substance currently used as a Refrigerant in the Refrigeration & Air conditioning sector and also as a Blowing agent in the Polyurethane foam sector.

He added that the same vigour used in the implementation of the HCFC Phase-out programme will be used in the phase-down of high Global Warming Potential, Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), in line with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. He further said that the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Programme’s (KCEP) project on the improvement of energy efficiency in the cooling sector will be consolidated to develop the National Cooling Plan Strategy for the country that will be backed by policies and regulations to be enforced by relevant MDAs for the ban on second-hand refrigeration and air conditioning appliances and inefficient cooling appliances.

Dr. Mahmood emphasized that refrigeration and air conditioning appliances are critical for comfort and cornerstone of modern life, food safety, economy and access to safe medicine but warned that these appliances are also big contributors to global warming because they often use the greenhouse gases as cooling agents, thereby contributing to global warming.

“Researches have shown that the number of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment worldwide is expected to quadruple to 14 billion by 2050 with emission projection of approximately 8.97 gigatons Carbon dioxide equivalent, therefore, leaving the cooling sector unregulated will cause Greenhouse gas emission to skyrocket and take us far from achieving the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global temperature well below 2 degrees Centigrade.

Delivering the welcome address of the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Dr. Bakari Wadinga, the Director Pollution Control & Environmental Health, Charles Ikeah affirmed that cooling is essential to human health and prosperity and is becoming more important as the world urbanises.

Dr Wadinga stressed that the current cooling technologies such as refrigeration and air conditioning rely on human-made gases that are either ozone-depleting substances or high global warming potential gases, mainly Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) which are almost 10,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide in causing global warming

He urged participants to actively participate at the workshop and come up with recommendations for successful implementation of the KCEP project on improving Energy Efficiency in the cooling sector.

The Resident Representative of the United Nation Development Programme, Mohamed Yahya congratulated Nigeria for the achievement recorded in the implementation of the global environmental treaties especially the Montreal Protocol on the phase-out of Ozone Depleting Substances. He conveyed the message of the Resident Representative that UNDP will continue to support the Federal Ministry of Environment in the implementation of projects towards sustaining the environment. He said the workshop is an opportunity to build on previous efforts to promote energy efficiency in the country.

The inception workshop also witnessed the presentation of Global Montreal Protocol Award to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) for successfully preventing the illegal use of banned Ozone Depleting Substances, specifically in the confiscation of 1.5 metric tons of banned CFC-12 in 2015.

The workshop is the first activity for the project with the main aim to set up the institutional framework for the implementation of the project’s objective to promote the adoption of Energy Efficient, Climate-Friendly and affordable Refrigeration and Air conditioning technologies in Nigeria.

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The Hon. Minister of Environment Dr. Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar represented by the Director (HRM) Daniang Peter today received 700 face mask donated by the Global Legislators Organization for Balanced Environment at the Ministry HQ Mabushi. Also at the event to receive the mask was the Director (PRS) Dr. Bolatito Obisesan

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Honourable Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar and His Excellency, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai

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