Comment by the Vice-Chancellor, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike in Ebonyi State, PROF. CHINEDUM NWAJIUBA at the Roundtable on the Way Forward for Nigeria after the Katowice Climate Package on 19th March, 2019
Without it being stated as a welcome remark in the agenda, I have interpreted this opportunity as such. I welcome everyone to this event. I welcome those from outside our university, to the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike. Our desire is that this exercise be fruitful for every one of us, and most importantly to our country and humanity.
There are many well-respected persons who are present here today. I however crave your indulgence to mention only three of them. We have invited some of the best the world has to this event. I welcome Prof. Emmanuel Oladipo, who is globally well respected on this subject. We clearly acknowledge him as the number one intellectual engaged in this subject in Nigeria.
Those engaged with the subject of interest today, regard him as our “General Overseer – GO)”. He has been a Negotiator for Nigeria at various fora globally, and I will make no further attempt to present his profile, so it does not take the whole day.
We welcome Dr. Peter Tarfa, the Director of the Department of Climate Change, in the Federal Ministry of Environment. Dr. Tarfa at short notice has to be in Accra, Ghana to represent our country at the 2019 Africa Climate Week. He has sent Ann Umar of the Department of Climate Change to represent him. Thank you Ann for coming. We look forward to listening and learning from your wide experience and knowledge garnered through years of dealing with this.
We are glad to have Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke of the University of Reading/Alex Ekwueme Federal University present at this event. Prof. Okereke is a globally acknowledged personality on the subject. We are glad to say that Prof. Okereke is fully joining AE-FUNAI.
The University exists to generate and disseminate knowledge. This is not limited to lecturers and students, and not also limited to research and teaching, but importantly for community service. In these three aspects of teaching, researching and serving the community, the University should not be indifferent to the challenges of the time and problems confronting society.
Our position as a concentration of intellectuals recommends that we be engaged in providing leadership and direction to society. We locate this roundtable on the way forward for Nigeria Post-COP24 held in Katowice. Poland, December 2018, in the context of providing intellectual leadership, and direction.
AE-FUNAI takes these issues very seriously. We not only talk, but we walk the talk. At Katowice, a number of universities from across the globe were present. There were about four countries we could count from Africa that had universities present at Katowice.
These included universities in South Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt, and Nigeria. From Nigeria however, only one University was present, and that is the AE-FUNAI. At Katowice, AE-FUNAI was not just in attendance, we hosted two side events. At home here our modest contribution to emission reduction and Nigeria meeting her commitments under the Paris Agreement and her Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), we have embarked on a CAMPUS GREEN INITIATIVE.
Under this we have planted 4,981 Number of ornamental and fruit trees were planted in AE-FUNAI between mid-2016 and mid-2018. We also planted 704 m2 of grasses. 10,000 Stands of dwarf Izora, Ficus, West Indies, etc have been planted in hedges and flower beds. In addition, we have planted 342 Stands of spot plants consisting of Tuja Pine (plicata), Rose spp, Pride of Barbados, Bougainvillea, Queen of the Philippines, Hibiscus, flame of the forest, Royal palm, etc. Various types of trees have also been planted.
These include sundry species of the Oil Palm, Mango, Cashew, Star Apple (udara), Almond, Coconut, Citrus, Guava, Hura, Step Tree, Bread fruit, Bush mango (ogbono), etc.We achieved 424.4 tonnes of Carbon dioxide supplanted by shifting from Diesel to renewables, especially solar, apart from yet to be estimated Carbon sequestration effect of our tree planting efforts in the last three years.
We have recently established a Centre for Climate Change and Development. This Roundtable on the Way Forward for Nigeria Post-Katowice is the first major engagement of the Centre. The idea is a platform to reach out to technical as well as non-technical stakeholders on the subject, including policy makers and the people, who are simultaneously contributing and bearing the brunt of climate change, often without realising their place in this.
While the Centre will be engaged in the commonly understood responsibilities of researching, publishing, conferencing, others for which Universities are known, it shall go further to engage stakeholders for action. Despite years of research and policy efforts, at the global level, it is obvious that the majority of people globally do not yet locate themselves in the matter and the way their actions may be impacting the climate and other livelihood, and development.
The Centre will have an action-soliciting and engendering component, based on the principle that the global climate challenge is a multi-stakeholder matter, and not the preserve of researchers and policy-makers. Further, AE-FUNAI is on the verge of having an Institute on Sustainable Development. This shall be a multidisciplinary platform, which recognizes that the challenges we face do not fit into specific disciplines as with the common structures in our universities.
It is therefore a season of action, and we shall not be left behind in the required actions necessary to sustain the world we have known and the world God gave us to manage. Going forward and providing direction for action for our country, is the main purpose for our being present here today.
It is in connection with this that the Centre for Climate and Development of Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State, Nigeria is hosting this one-day roundtable, today March 19, 2019, to engage key stakeholders (government, academia, private sector, NGOs) in the climate discourse on the outcomes of COP24 especially on the agreed rules to implement the Paris Agreement and NDC.
The roundtable will also interrogate the overall Country’s performance on the implementation of the NDC. We shall develop an action requirement at the end of this exercise for all stakeholders to act upon.
I therefore once again welcome you, and wish everyone a very fruitful day.