Nigeria’s Climate Change Bill, which was sponsored by Representative Sam Onuigbo, chairman of the Climate Change Committee of the House of Representatives and chair of the Climate Parliament group in Nigeria, was passed by the House of Representatives on July 8, 2021. It has now been sent to the Senate for concurrence before it receives Presidential assent. The “Bill for an Act to Provide for the Mainstreaming of Climate Change Actions, Establish the National Council on Climate Change, and for Other Related Matters” seeks to provide a legal framework for Nigeria's efforts on climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The Bill sets up a National Council on Climate Change to be headed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Other members include the Vice-President of the Republic, who shall act as Vice Chairman and the Ministers of Environment, Petroleum Resources, Budget and National Planning, Justice, Mines and Steel Development, Finance, Agriculture and Rural Development, Power, Women Affairs, Transportation, and Water Resources. It also includes, among other authorities, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the National Security Adviser, the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, the President of the Association of Local Government and representatives from the private sector.
The Bill establishes a Secretariat for the National Council on Climate Change to be headed by a Director-General. It contemplates the development of a carbon budget for Nigeria with the ultimate aim of attaining net zero emission between 2050-2070. It sets up a Climate Change Fund. It provides checks and balances through oversight by the National Assembly, the Secretariat, and engagement with the public. It seeks to address climate change by using nature-based solutions and environmental-economic accounting, contemplates mechanisms for carbon emissions trading and a carbon tax, and has a strong focus on education and awareness creation.
The powers conferred to the Council, the setting of carbon budgets and allocation of emission reduction targets to private and public entities, will play a key role in ensuring a coordinated effort to address climate issues in Nigeria. The Council will play a key role in establishing plans for the transition to a net zero economy, ensuring policies that will strengthen investment in renewable energy. The Public Engagement Strategy set out in the Bill also provides an opportunity for Nigerians to be part of the process by monitoring, making recommendations, and holding responsible parties accountable. The Bill also makes provisions for legal action against private and public entities who renege of their climate change responsibilities.
The Climate Parliament group in Nigeria convened and funded a retreat to speed up the final negotiations and drafting of the law. According to Hon. Samuel Onuigbo, “without the intervention of Climate Parliament International leadership in the House of Representatives in collaboration with the Executive, and the support provide by members of Climate Parliament Nigeria, this speedy progress that we made would not have been possible. Nigeria owes you a debt of gratitude.”
A cross-party, gender-diverse Climate Parliament group was established in Nigeria resulting from a series of virtual parliamentary roundtables organised in the context of the Parliamentary Action on Renewable Energy (PARE) project. PARE is supported by the European Commission’s Directorate-General of International Partnerships (DG INTPA) and implemented by the Climate Parliament in collaboration with the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), with co-sponsorship by the Pan-African Parliament.