Ahead of the United Nations 2015 Climate Change Conference (COP 21) Embassy of France in Nigeria put together a Panel Discussion yesterday 28th April on “Climate Change and the experience of Nigeria” The Panel Discussion which held at the Thought Pyramid Art Centre in Abuja is to raise the people awareness on what climate change is, what is its impact in Nigeria and what can be done increase to coping capability of the vulnerable populace.
According to Mr Denys Gauer, Ambassador of France in Nigeria he said”hosting the COP 21 is an honour and a big responsibility for France”. Climate Change is a terrible global threat for the whole world and has become over the years a major issue in terms of international relations and negotiations, he added.
The panelists at the event comprised experts in Environment and climate change in Nigeria such as Dr Samuel Adejuwon (Director of the Department of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment), Aminu Zakari (Executive Director of the Centre for Climate Change and Environmental Studies), Mr Huzi Ishaku Mshelia (Director, Clean Energy Consult) and Miss Nkechinyere Itodo (Journalist on Environment and Climate Change with Voice of Nigeria)
Several challenges confronting climate change advocacy towards its mitigation were identified at the Discussion. One of the challenges is lack of quality information from the Media regarding climate change effects on human existence. According to Mr Zakari, he posited that large number of locals in Nigeria still do not understand what Climate change and its effects are. Whenever issue like climate change is being mentioned, it appears strange to them” he explained. Therefore, there is still communication gap and as such there is much to do in this regard, people need to be educated on the effect of climate change in other sectors particularly agriculture, average farmer should be able to understand the reason why there is sudden change in weather, rainstorm, sunshine and other elements of nature.
Mr Mshelia being an expert in the Energy sector, shed more light on the impact of energy conservation in the Country. “Energy is critical to the causes of Climate Change, nevertheless, in terms of energy consumption for instance 40,000 megawatts is required for Nigeria to meet up with Vision 20 2020. he affirmed.
Miss Nkechi Itodo, using herself as a typical example of a Nigerian Reporter, reporting on diverse issues around environment and climate change and as they could affect human lives, she said Nigerian reporters needs to move away from churning out low quality reportage on climate change to comprehensive method of reporting. “I used to be a copy and paste reporter before, but when i realised how vital these reports are to people then i made up my mind to improve on myself and the quality of my reportage because these reports are what the society need to stay informed on the latest development.
Questions and answer session from audience to the panellists was another segment where participants were able to get answers to the frequently asked questions around COP, climate change and its effects on human lives, and most importantly the Federal Government agenda for Nigerian citizens as regards to these.