Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says Nigeria was delighted that the US was fully back on the global climate change agenda.
Mr Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, said in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja that the vice president said this when he received, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, a US government delegation led by the White House Deputy National Security Advisor, Jonathan Finer.
The vice president said the move was a commendable restoration of the US government’s support for the Paris Agreement.
“We are happy that the US is fully on board with climate change and back to the table on this issue. I think one has to commend the drive that this US administration has put behind climate change,” Mr Osinbajo said.
Four years ago, President Donald Trump’s administration had announced US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change.
But, on assumption to power earlier this year, President Joe Biden’s administration announced the restoration of US’s commitments to the Paris Agreement.
Mr Osinbajo reaffirmed Nigeria’s position regarding a just transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, ahead of the Net-zero Emissions 2050 target, saying that Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan was the first in Africa.
“We are concerned, amongst other things, first about some of what has been going on, especially around gas as an effective transition fuel, and how many of the Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) and some countries are insisting that gas projects should be defunded.
“This is a principal concern to us; it is one that we have made central to our advocacy and it is one of the issues that we intend to promote at the COP26.
“We have done the costing for it and all of what is required to be able to hit net-zero by 2050.
“ Also, what the implications would be, given the constraints there, and how realistic it would be to get to net-zero by 2050 or not.’’
On the Democracy Summit which President Biden would be hosting later in the year, Mr Osinbajo said that Nigeria looked forward to participating at the summit.
The vice president harped on the need to discourage illicit financial flows, adding that ”the international monetary and financial systems have a role in stopping it.
“Looking at what happened in the last few years, we have received quite a bit of support from the US government, especially in terms of the repatriation of several of the looted funds, and we hope to continue to get the cooperation of the US.”
He also spoke on the nation’s security concerns in relation to the activities of ISWAP and ISIS.
Mr Osinbajo recognised the role of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS (D-ISIS) as a very important initiative in sending the right signals, especially in Iraq and Syria.
“If you look at what is going on today in certain regions like the Lake Chad and the Sahel, it is very apparent that we need that kind of resolve in order to be able to deal with ISWAP and Boko Haram in Nigeria,’’ he said.
The vice president expressed the Federal Government’s gratitude to the US government for donating over 3.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Nigeria.
Earlier, Finer had informed Mr Osinbajo of a potential partnership with Nigeria on a G-7 Infrastructure Programme, ‘Build Back Better World’, which the US President had made a priority.
“It involves bringing together a range of funding sources, development finance and the private sector, to work with key partner-countries to develop their infrastructure and fill the gap between infrastructure needs and the current state of infrastructure.’’
The American Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, the Nigeria’s National Security Advisor, Babagana Monguno and other US and Nigerian senior government officials also attended the meeting.