February 14, 2022

Climate Change Bill Signed into Law Two Months After Set Deadline

Promise: To domesticate the Paris Climate Agreement, an international agreement adopted by 196 countries in Paris to combat the climate change crisis.

Abiola Durodola
Last Updated
February 14, 2022
min read

In its revised legislative agenda document, the Gbajabiamila-led House of Representatives promised to domesticate the Paris Climate Agreement, an international agreement adopted by 196 countries in Paris to combat the climate change crisis.

As part of this agreement, member countries are required to create an action plan in the form of commitment referred to as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Although, Nigeria signed the agreement in 2017 with part of the country’s NDCs aimed at committing to cut the country’s carbon emissions unconditionally by 20 per cent. Three years after making this commitment, the country failed to domesticate the agreement despite increasing advocacy on climate action, hence, the need to provide a legal framework for its implementation by the House of Representatives.

What about the domestication of the Paris Climate Agreement?

Globally, the domestication of an international agreement involves the incorporation of the provisions of a treaty or agreement into the extant laws of some country. Nigeria is among the countries that have adopted a dualist system of domestication of international agreements before such agreement is been enforced in the country.

Further, Section 12 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) also provides a constitutional backing to the domestication of treaties or agreements. It states that “No treaty between the Federation and any other country shall have the force of law except to the extent to which any such treaty has been enacted into law by the National Assembly.”

Efforts to Domesticate the Paris Climate Agreement

On 9 October 2019, the Climate Change Bill, 2019 (HB 357), sponsored by Hon. Samuel Ifeanyi, Onuigbo from Abia State scaled the first reading in the House of Representatives. Twenty months after its second reading, the bill passed the third reading in July 2021 on the floor of the House of Representatives before it was transmitted to the Senate.

After the passage of the bill by the House of Representatives in July 2021, Nigeria’s Minister for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor commended the house of representatives for showing commitment to the implementation of the provisions of the Paris Climate Agreement. The revised bill also gave legal backing to the country’s long-term commitment to climate change programmes and the reduction of carbon emissions.

“The passage of the bill was a clear indication of the commitment of the house to work with the executive to implement provisions of the Paris Agreement on climate change, as well as support the commitment of the President to fight climate change,” Sharon Ikeazor said in a statement made available to national news platform.

After its transmission to the Senate, the bill was sponsored in the upper chamber by Sen. Abdullahi Abubakar from Kebbi. It then scaled the first, second and third reading between July and October 2021. In November 2021, President Buhari signed the Nigeria Climate Change bill into law.

Despite the House of Representatives’ promise to pass the bill by May 2021, it was eventually passed and transmitted to the Senate in July 2021. We, therefore, rate this promise Compromise due to its significant accomplishment despite being fulfilled a few months after the timeline set in the official statement.