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Nigeria Backs Global Efforts Against Marine Plastic Pollution

President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged Nigeria’s commitment to an international legally binding instrument to reduce the menace of marine plastic pollution from land-based sources and activities. Buhari also congratulated the

President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged Nigeria’s commitment to an international legally binding instrument to reduce the menace of marine plastic pollution from land-based sources and activities.
Buhari also congratulated the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), and all stakeholders in the maritime industry for the successful berthing of the first ship at Lekki Deep Seaport in Lagos, describing it as a great feat.

The president gave the assurance weekend in a speech at the 2022 United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal.
Highlighting Nigeria’s effort at ensuring the health and sustainability of oceans, seas, and marine resources, the president represented by the Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, said a national policy on plastic pollution and the road map on tackling solid and plastic waste management has been formulated and established.
The president, who lauded the United Nations for leading the process of effective ocean governance, said Nigeria had mainstreamed ocean management into the economy, constituting a Presidential Committee on Sustainable Blue Economy.

He also announced that Nigeria has embarked on the creation of two marine protected areas.
President Buhari reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to participating constructively in the ongoing negotiations for various multilateral agreements, including on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
According to him: ‘‘The entire Southern border of Nigeria is the Atlantic Ocean with a coastline of about 853 kilometers being the longest in the West African region.
‘‘It is endowed with enormous biodiversity resources such as the freshwater and mangrove forest ecosystems with diverse species of fauna and flora.
‘‘We acknowledge the fact that a healthy ocean and coastal environment is key to sustainable development. We must therefore conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources.
‘‘The ocean is key to the global economy, with an estimated 40 million people projected to be employed by ocean-based industries by 2030.

‘‘Our oceans and seas are repositories of tremendous wealth, in terms of natural capital, ecosystem services, living and non-living resources. We are conscious of the fact that our maritime and aquatic resources are critical for the livelihoods of our people; hence, our commitment to the Africa Union 2063 Agenda and the attainment of United Nations SDG 14.”
The president also stressed the need for more scientific partnerships and knowledge sharing to protect humanity’s common ocean heritage.
His words: ‘‘The science tells us that to stop the downward spiral we are witnessing in the ocean, we must fully and highly protect at least 30 per cent of the global ocean by 2030, and dramatically strengthen the management of human activities in the other 70 per cent.
‘‘This must be reflected in the text we negotiate here as well as in upcoming negotiations planned in December 2022 at the upcoming Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) of the Conference of Parties (COP).

‘‘Nigeria is a member of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People and the Blue Leaders Campaign.
‘‘The global community needs to agree to the effective protection of 30 per cent of the global ocean by 2030 at the CBD COP in December, and a robust high seas treaty that doesn’t simply endorse the status quo, but the one that ensures all nations manage their activities in the high seas to prevent significant effects on the ocean.

‘‘These two steps will go a long way in restoring the health and resilience of our oceans.’’
Meanwhile, Buhari has congratulated the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the NPA, and all stakeholders in the maritime industry for the successful berthing of the first ship at Lekki Deep Seaport in Lagos.
The vessel, ZHEN HUA 28, delivered three Ship to Shores (STS) and 10 Rubber Tyre Gantries (RTG) cranes that will help in the evacuation of cargoes from vessels to the shore.
The president, in a statement issued by his Media Adviser, Mr. Femi Adesina, commended the staff and management in the nation’s maritime sector who are working round the clock to make the operationalisation of Lekki Deep sea port before the end of the year a reality, reassuring them of his commitment to sustain investments in these new assets.

He recalled that his approval of four new seaports in the country, including the Lekki Deep Seaport, was hinged on growing the economy, creating massive job opportunities, foreign investment inflows, and trade facilitation.
President Buhari recognised that the nation’s maritime and aquatic resources are critical to the livelihoods of Nigerians and the Government will spare no effort in successfully harnessing the potential of the sector

Buhari Back in Abuja after Five-day State Visit to Portugal
Meanwhile, President Buhari last night returned toAbuja after a five-day state visit to Lisbon, capital of Portugal.

The president, whose official aircraft, NAF1 touched down at the presidential wing of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at about 5pm, also participated in the 2022 United Nations Ocean Conference, which held in Lisbon during his stay in the country.
President Buhari was on arrival by his Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari; Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mohammed Bello; Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba; among other top government officials.
While in Lisbon, President Buhari led the Nigerian entourage to the signing of several agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoU).
The MoUs signed include Political Consultations; Diplomatic Training, Research and the Exchange of Information and Documentation; Cooperation in the Field of Culture; and Cooperation in the Field of Women and Girls Development, Empowerment and Gender Affairs; Youth; and Sports.

At a business forum organised during the visit, at which some of the MoUs were finalised between the two countries’ investment promotion agencies and chambers of commerce, President Buhari had described the progress in signing the agreements ‘‘as excellent foundations for increased bilateral trade.’’
The president also met with some representatives of Nigerian residents of Portugal, assuring them that the 2023 elections would be credible and peace, even as he admonishing them against inciting political crisis back home, through the use of the social media.
President Buhari was accompanied to Portugal by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo; Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare.

Others are National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd); Director General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar and Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa.

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

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