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ECOWAS Countries Need to Rally Together on Biodiversity, Climate Change to Ward Off Environmental Disaster, Insists Nigeria

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ECOWAS Countries Need to Rally Together on Biodiversity, Climate Change to Ward Off Environmental Disaster, Insists Nigeria

By: Michael Mike

Nigeria has called all other members of Economic Community Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to rally behind her to find solution to biodiversity and climate change to ward off environmental disaster that is not only threatening the region but the entire planet.

The Minister of State for Environment, Dr. Iziaq Salami made the call on Monday while giving his opening remarks at the coordination meeting held in Abuja of ECOWAS Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ).

He said: “Our oceans require strong protection that can only be achieved through a new treaty for the conservation and management of marine life in the high seas. This treaty must ensure that human activities are managed to prevent significant adverse impacts, with vigorous oversight mechanisms and provisions to establish fully and highly protected MPAs in the high seas.”

He admitted that: “With the adoption of the high-seas treaty last June, we are one step closer to achieving our goals. In September this year, at the High Ambition for the High Seas event on the sideline of UNGA, Nigeria joined other 22 countries to symbolically sign a commitment to ratify the BBNJ treaty. We must now rally to ratify the new high-seas treaty promptly so it can come into force.”

Salako added that: “We are proud that through Nigeria’s rallying efforts, the 55 member States of the African Union have reached a consensus to support ratifying at the earliest feasible date, the new high-seas treaty, as enshrined in Addis Ababa Declaration adopted at the 19th ordinary session of Africa Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN). Three months since the 19th AMCEN, we should move from saying earliest feasible date to a more specific period for Africa to ratify the BBNJ treaty. ECOWAS can lead the way in this direction.”

He said: “I’m honored to welcome you all to Nigeria as we once again gather to find solutions to the biodiversity and climate crisis that is gripping our planet, our subregion not exempted.

“They are part of the same crisis, and we cannot solve one without solving the other.”

The status of the world’s oceans today is a clear indication of this dire interaction, he stressed, noting that: “Our oceans are under threat today more than ever before with sea level rise, temperature increases, acidification, pollution, biodiversity loss, unsustainable exploitation of marine resources, depletion of fish stocks, the near disappearance of coral reefs, and the destruction of fragile ecosystems.

“The urgent need to address this threat has led Nigeria and its sister ECOWAS member nations to unite and call on the international community to be more ambitious in its response.

“Our appeal for an ambitious global response to the biodiversity crisis is urgent and focused.

“Through the urgent appeal, we had identified several measures as essential, including the global designation of 30% of land and oceans areas as protected by 2030, the conclusion of a robust new high-seas treaty, the establishment of highly and fully protected areas covering 30% of the global ocean which prohibit environmentally damaging activities, and a global commitment towards immediately halting human-induced extinction of wild species, among others.”

The Minister acknowledged that today, only 7% of the world’s oceans are protected, adding that there are no comprehensive legal mechanisms in place to protect the high seas and the deep seabed areas, the shared international areas of oceans that lie beyond national jurisdictions and that include almost 70% of the global ocean.

Salako said: “The meeting you are attending today provides a pathway to support ECOWAS countries in reaching this important goal. Prompt ratification of the high-seas treaty and effective engagement in its implementation is an urgent priority for the preservation of our oceans.

“We have a shared responsibility to act and protect the oceans because we all share in the benefits provided by our oceans and because we all share in the harm that comes when degraded coastal and marine ecosystems threaten the physical, economic, food security of local communities, and multinational businesses. Failing to protect our oceans would be catastrophic.”

Salako, reiterated that if the challenge is not addressed, the impacts for people will be profound, while expressing optimism, he said: “It is my sincere hope that you can work together in the next few days to make swift, real progress towards setting a path for prompt ratification of the high-seas treaty in our region and on our continent.

“We must act to protect our oceans now, and we must be bold if we have any hope of preserving our planet for our people and our future generation.”

The Minister advocated that member states should lead the way together for nature, adding that government through the Ministry is committed to ratifying BBNJ treaty in line with the focus of President Bola Tinubu to pursue development by unlocking the energy and natural resources of the nation in a sustainable manner.

Earlier, Director, Environment Department, ECOWAS, Moussa Leko, noted that the meeting is a natural follow-up to other coordination meetings organized by ECOWAS to support its members states in their joint efforts promoting ambition for the world’s response to the biodiversity crisis at CITES and at CBD.

He said: “Having carefully reviewed the outcomes of both the CBD CoP15 meeting, and the CITES CoP19 meeting, I can directly see that West Africa is a leading voice for biodiversity protection globally. Not only that, but our region is demonstrating collaboration, expertise, and strength in its advocacy for our natural heritage.”

He noted that: “The ambition of ECOWAS countries has been instrumental in securing positive outcomes from the CITES and CBD meetings and we see our positions clearly reflected in the decisions adopted by the global community. For this, the ECOWAS Commission owes you a sincere debt of gratitude. You are worthy biodiversity ambassadors for our wonderful West African region.”

He however added that: “The task upon us today is to ensure that the vital ECOWAS Appeal to the Global community, calling for an Ambitious Global Response to the Biodiversity Crisis continues to be heard loud and clear. This appeal represents a fundamental truth, which is that we must take robust action now, to protect our planet.

“We must urgently protect biodiversity in order to preserve ecosystem services vital to human well-being, and the livelihood of our local communities. Losing these services or standing idle while our communities go impoverished and hungry would result in an unimaginable future. It cannot be considered an option.
I encourage you to continue expanding your coordination to ensure our region is provided all the tools it needs to implement an ambitious Global Biodiversity Framework and an ambitious CITES agenda.

“We are ready to strengthen and expand our protected areas, we are ready to protect and recover our wild species. We are ready to act to protect our biodiversity, our ecosystem services, our magical and unique environments.”

ECOWAS Countries Need to Rally Together on Biodiversity, Climate Change to Ward Off Environmental Disaster, Insists Nigeria

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9th EU-Nigeria Business Forum: Business leaders, policy makers to explore new investment opportunities

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9th EU-Nigeria Business Forum: Business leaders, policy makers to explore new investment opportunities

By: Michael Mike

Nigerian and European business leaders, policy makers and institutional stakeholders will converge on Abuja on July 2, 2024 to identify and explore investment opportunities along specific value chains during the 9th European Union-Nigeria Business Forum.

The Forum, which is holding in the federal capital for the first time, according to a statement on Sunday is being organised by the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, in close coordination with EU Member States and the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.

Themed “Investing in jobs and a sustainable future”, the event will take place at Abuja’s Continental Hotel.

The EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Samuela Isopi, said the Business Forum, aside from fostering engagement between businesses, policymakers, and stakeholders from Nigeria and the EU, will also facilitates trade, investment, and partnerships through networking, discussions, and policy shaping, to promote economic cooperation between the EU and Nigeria and stimulate sustainable growth for both parties.

She said: @It is important to note that for the first time since its inception, the 2024 edition of the EU-Nigeria Business Forum will be held in Abuja. This will provide an opportunity for the EU, its Member States and the private sector from Europe and Nigeria to engage the new administration on their investment agendas in a transparent and inclusive manner, with a view to fostering confidence and commitment to a stronger and sustainable partnership.”

As part of the EU Global Gateway Strategy, she explained, EU-funded projects will complement private sector investment in areas, which bring about critical social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
In the case of Nigeria, particular attention is paid to the harnessing of local talent, particularly among youth and women, as well as economic, social, and environmental resilience. Against this backdrop, she stated, the 9th EU Nigeria Business Forum will focus on current and prospective investment in the digital, health, and agricultural sectors.

According to Ms Isopi, the Business Forum will discuss options and respective benefits towards establishing a bilateral legal framework between the EU and Nigeria, bringing certainty, stability, and sustainability to bilateral trade and investment relations.

Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment Dr. Doris Uzoka-Anite, expressed her support, saying: “I commend the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, as well as the EU Member States, for their dedication to promoting economic cooperation and stimulating sustainable growth. Let us seize this opportunity to pave the way for a prosperous future for both Nigeria and the EU.”

The Forum will run in a hybrid format, targeting sectoral associations, business community, and entrepreneurs, and is expected to attract at least 400 in-person participants, excluding those who will join the event virtually. It will also feature panels on a range of issues, including Confidence in the Nigerian Economy – sustainable solutions to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Digitalisation Leapfrog, Healthy Economies Thrive, and From Agriculture to Agribusiness.

9th EU-Nigeria Business Forum: Business leaders, policy makers to explore new investment opportunities

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ActionAid Nigeria Condemns the Abduction and Arrests of Peaceful Protesters on Democracy Day

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ActionAid Nigeria Condemns the Abduction and Arrests of Peaceful Protesters on Democracy Day

By: Michael Mike

ActionAid Nigeria, a local Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) affiliated with ActionAid International, a global federation of social justice groups with a presence in over 70 countries, has condemned the clampdown by security operatives on peaceful demonstrations by some Nigerians on Democracy Day.

A statement on Wednesday by the Country Representative of ActionAid Nigeria, Andrew Mamedu read: “We witnessed a disturbing crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy activists. In Lagos, one of the leaders, Juwon Sanyaolu, was forcefully abducted by suspected Department of State Security (DSS) operatives, and his whereabouts remain unknown.

“In Abuja, students and activists from Activista who went out to advocate for good governance were also arrested in Gwagwalada and are currently placed in detention.

“We condemn this blatant suppression of constitutional and democratic rights, and demand:

  • The immediate release of Juwon Sanyaolu and all arrested activists
  • An end to the repression of peaceful protests and respect for our constitutional rights
  • An investigation into the abduction and arrests, and accountability for those responsible.”

Mamedu said: “President Tinubu’s speech today highlights the importance of democratic values, human rights, and the protection of freedom of expression and assembly. Yet, his government’s actions contradict these principles. We urge the President to practice what he preaches and ensure our rights are respected.

“The Nigerian Community of Activists for Good Governance which ActionAid Nigeria is part of will not be silenced. We will continue to demand justice, equality, and democracy for all Nigerians. The true meaning of this Democracy Day is not just to celebrate the past but to commit to a better future. We will hold the government accountable for their actions and ensure that democracy is not just a historical fact but a living, breathing reality.

“We remember the sacrifices of pro-democracy activists, including our current president, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who fought for our democratic rights, and we will continue to honour their legacy by standing up against oppression. We will not be deterred by intimidation and violence but will persist in our struggle for a better Nigeria.

“We call on all Nigerians to join us in demanding an end to the crackdown on peaceful protests and the immediate release of all arrested Activista members. Together, we can build a Nigeria where democracy is not just a celebration but a way of life.”

ActionAid Nigeria Condemns the Abduction and Arrests of Peaceful Protesters on Democracy Day

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How Zulum demonstrates rare leadership in Borno

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How Zulum demonstrates rare leadership in Borno

By: Yusuf Adamu

Borno state governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, has again demonstrated an unequal leadership prowess in the governance of the state by transmitting power to his deputy, Hon. Usman Kadadur. Such a move by the governor since coming to power in 2019 has put Professor Babagana Umara Zulum on a pedestal of trust and honor. 

The governor has continued to show the world that power is transient, and as such, leaders must learn to appreciate the fact that harmonious working relationships with their subordinates are key to governance. 

This is, to my knowledge, the second time the governor is doing this. On Friday, he wrote to the assembly stating his desire to hand over
power to his deputy, Alhaji Umar Kadafur, in an acting capacity, as he left for Hajj in the Holyland of Saudi Arabia. 

The executive communication to the Borno State House of Assembly (BOHA), which was read by the Speaker, Honourable Abdulkarim Lawan, during an emergency session on Friday, speaks volumes about the kind of relationship the governor has with his deputy. This is a demonstration of trust, which is lacking in some states of the federation, and Borno has remained a point for others to emulate. 

The speaker, Honourable Lawan, said that the letter is in accordance with the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, adding that Kadafur will act from June 10th to July 8th, 2024. He further explained that the move is necessary to ensure the continuity of governance and the smooth running of the affairs of the state in the absence of the governor. 

This also demonstrated the cordial working relationship and understanding between the executive and legislative arms in Borno State. This singular act of the governor has once again brought to light the desire of the governor to leave by his constant statement that he remained the servant of the people and will always abide by the Constitution of the Federal Republic in discharging his duties as governor. 

*Yusuf Adamu is the former Adviser to then Borno state governor and current VP, Kashim Shettima

How Zulum demonstrates rare leadership in Borno

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