Buhari signs Climate Change, AMCON amendment bills into law

Muhammadu Buhari

. As Osinbajo seeks U.S. assistance on net-zero targets, others  

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, signed two important bills passed by the National Assembly, including the Climate Change Bill, and the Nigeria Asset Management Company (Amendment) Act.

The new Climate Change Act owes its origin to a bill sponsored by a member of the House of Representatives, Sam Onuigbo.

It provides, among other things, for the integration of actions related to climate change and the creation of a National Council on Climate Change.

The law also paves the way for environmental and economic accounting, as well as the promotion of a net zero emissions deadline plan for the country, according to a statement by the President’s Media Assistant, Garba Shehu.

The statement, released in Abuja, also identified the second bill approved by the president as the Nigeria Asset Management Company (Amendment) Act, which amended AMCON Law No.4 of 2010.

The statement reads: “It provides for the extension of the duration of the Resolution Costs Fund and provides access to the Special Court established by the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act of 2020.”

The law therefore gives the company “the power to take possession, manage, seize or sell, transfer, assign or otherwise manage the assets or property used as collateral for qualifying bank assets and related matters.”

“This will indeed help AMCON to carry out collections and debtors to meet their commitments to banks,” he added.

Meeting net-zero

Buhari’s enactment of the two laws comes as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo sought greater bilateral cooperation from the United States (U.S.) in the areas of climate change, security, and COVID-19 pandemic response.  

Osinbajo made the request yesterday, when he met with the U.S. Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, who is on a three-nation tour of Africa at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Vice President said: “Some of the concerns we had, President Muhammadu Buhari has mentioned at COP26, especially around the whole issue of gas as zero transition fuel given the fact that some countries, especially developing countries, are fossil fuel rich.

“And no industrialised nation is able to industrialise using renewable energy alone.’’

He insisted that it would be unfair to call on developing countries to rely on renewable energy, especially for industrialisation, saying: “So, we are looking at adaptation and mitigation measures.

“And I think that we should really look at how there is a public investment programme, especially for gas, because it remains the way through which we can increase access to electricity with its problem in developing nations and again it is closely tied to poverty.

“So, we think these are issues that we want to collaborate with you; again, to just say that we are very pleased with the work the U.S. has done in Nigeria.

“I mentioned earlier that these are works that are somehow masked in a way to ensure that there is a bottom up approach.

“There is participation of those that will be the beneficiaries in developing the programme which has been very helpful and I think that accounts for a lot of success we have seen in a good number of those programmes.

“We need to thank the US for that and we thank you also,’’ he said.

The Climate Change Act paves the way for environmental and economic accounting, as well as the promotion of a net zero emissions deadline plan for the country.

U.S. contributions

On his part, Blinken pledged US collaboration with Nigeria on climate change, investments in infrastructure, developing capacity to manufacture vaccines, security, among others, saying there are many areas of cooperation between the U.S. and Nigeria.

To this end, a $2.17 billion Development Objective Agreement, was signed in support of a healthier and more educated Nigeria

On the U.S. government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, he said: “The United States and Nigeria have collaborated closely to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In partnership with COVAX or bilaterally, the United States has provided more than seven and a half million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria, and provided more than $119 million in COVID-19-related health and humanitarian assistance.

“This includes a 40-bed mobile field hospital; support for ventilators and personal protective equipment; technical assistance with vaccine readiness; conducting epidemiological COVID-19 detection and vaccine hesitancy surveys.

“Also, the setting up electronic record systems; providing rapid response teams; training over 200,000 military and civilian personnel on COVID-19 control measures; developing and disseminating targeted education and prevention information through multiple channels; and transferring technology for virtual training.

“In addition, the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention helped establish a network of 153 COVID-19 testing labs nationwide.”

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