Nigeria Ratifies UNFCCC & Minamata Convention on Mercury

The ‎Federal Government of Nigeria has announced its ratification of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

The Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Jibril, disclosed this at the 11th meeting of the National Council of Environment held in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

According to the Minister:

“We have ratified the treaty and also signed the Minamata convention on mercury and also obtained Mr President’s signature on the instrument of ratification last week. The instrument is about to be forwarded to the United Nations.”

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is an international treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and related compounds.

The UNFCCC, on the other hand is a global treaty adopted on May 9, 1992 and opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro June 14, 1992. It was enforced March 21, 1994, after a sufficient number of countries had ratified it. The UNFCCC objective is to “stabilize greenhouse emissions to a level that would prevent dangerous climatic effects. About 168 nations have signed it so far.”

The Minister, while speaking on the theme of the meeting, ‘Unlocking the Investment Opportunities in the Environment Sector towards Nigeria’s Economic Recovery, Diversification, Growth and Sustainable Development’, said the development came at a time the government at all levels were keying into the change mantra of the federal government.

In his words:

“Indeed, these are tough and challenging times for the Nigerian economy. I believe this informs the choice of the theme for this forum which could not have come at a better time than now, considering the policy direction and focus of this administration.

In spite of the challenging times, this government has demonstrated complete political will and commitment in the cause of reviving the Nigeria project by dealing with immediate issues of improving security, tackling corruption, and revitalising the national economy.”

The host governor, Ibikunle Amosun, in his remarks warned that environmental issues should not be treated with levity because of its link with economic development.

He added that most of the adverse climatic and environmental conditions are manifestation of man’s ”inadvertent but cruel response to climate.

According to the Governor:

“There are records to show that countries that have developed remarkably paid particular attention to the human and environmental implications of their actions.

We must learn from the experiences of other nations. Economic development pattern has shown that there is a direct link, not just between the environment, but the way we treat our environment, and socio-economic development.”

Nigeria Is Re-Elected Into UN Human Rights Council

Nigeria has won a re-election into the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva for the 2018 to 2020 term at an election held at the UN Headquarters in New York.

According to the Ambassador/Deputy Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN, Ambassador Samson Itegboje:

“There were two slots for West Africa in the election and Ghana and Sierra Leone were also contesting.

However, we reached an understanding that West African countries could not be antagonising themselves and that we have to reach a compromise.

So we got Ghana and Sierra Leone to step down for Nigeria. But even at that, there were a lot of reach out we had to do beyond West Africa.

So this election has once again showed that Nigeria enjoyed a lot of goodwill not only among its West African bloc countries but also in Africa and across the world”.

The UNHRC is a United Nations system inter-governmental body responsible for promoting and protecting human rights around the world.

With the re-election, Nigeria, currently serving out its 2015 to 2017 term, would be among the four countries representing West Africa and the 13 countries representing Africa in the 47-seat Council.

The other two countries on the council with Nigeria are Cote d’ Ivoire and Togo, which tenure expire in 2018.

Ghana and Nigeria are already serving out their tenure for the 2015 to 2017 term while Ghana, which initially sought the-election like Nigeria, stepped down for Nigeria to get on board of the Council.

Nigeria Signs Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty

Nigeria has signed the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty to ban nuclear weapons amid tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests.

Weapons Prohibition Treaty

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geofrey Onyeama, signed the treaty on behalf of Nigeria at the UN headquarters on the sidelines of the High-level UN General Assembly. He stated that Nigeria was in support of weapons-free world.

In his words:

 “Right from the early 60s, Nigeria has been a strong advocate of nuclear weapons prohibition and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. You may recall in the early 60s when France tested an atom bomb-related device in the Sahara and Nigeria cut diplomatic relations with France at the time. Nigeria had always been a strong advocate of de-nuclearisation of the world. We are one of the main movers of this treaty.”  

The minister said it was unfortunate that countries with nuclear weapons saw them as deterrence and safeguarded their security. According to him, it will take great effort to really push and get larger number of countries to accede to the treaty, especially nuclear weapons states.

He urged countries that signed the treaty, Civil Society Organisations and intergovernmental organisations to convince others to accede to the treaty stressing in his words that:

“The point made was that even if those nuclear weapons states were not ready to sign, they should at least take measures to ensure there was no accidental use or deliberate use of nuclear weapons.”

The treaty would enter into force 90 days after 50 countries ratified it, while Nigeria was due to deposit its ratification soon. The UN had in July adopted Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty in a majority vote by 122 countries, leading toward total elimination of nuclear weapons, while 60 countries boycotted. With the adoption of the treaty, nuclear weapons now joined all other weapons of mass destruction already prohibited.

Nigeria, together with Ireland, Austria, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa played leadership roles in bringing forward the UN resolution convening the Diplomatic Conference that negotiated the ground-breaking treaty.

Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Bande, pointed out that resources spent in maintaining nuclear weapons could better be used in other development projects. According to him, those regions with nuclear weapons had continued to be unstable, citing India, Pakistan, Israel and their neighbours. He stated that it was said that “there were countries that still have nuclear weapons and refused to give them up”.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said as he opened the treaty for signing “because there remain some 15,000 nuclear weapons in existence, we cannot allow these doomsday weapons to endanger our world and our children’s future.”

President Muhammadu Buhari, in his address to the UN, said the most pressing threat to international peace and security was accelerated nuclear weapons development programme by North Korea.

In his words:

“Nigeria proposes a strong UN delegation to urgently engage the North Korean Leader. The delegation, led by the Security Council, should include members from all the regions.” 

Buhari therefore urged that necessary pressure and diplomatic efforts be brought to bear on North Korea to accept peaceful resolution of the crisis.

NIS Launches 2 Visa Centres In MMIA Lagos

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has launched two new visa issuing centres at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

The Immigration Service has also increased the counters at the Lagos International airport from its initial three to eight. The policy also targeted growing foreign direct investment into the country’s aviation and tourism industry. The government in an attempt to attract more foreign investment had ordered the NIS to create two  visa-on-arrival counters at the Lagos airport.  So far, about 20,000 visas had been issued at these points to expatriates, tourists, exhibitors, academics, and other visitors to the country following the order. 

An official reported in his words that:

“The immigration authorities in Abuja ordered that there should be an increase – from one to two – on the number of visa counters at the Lagos airport in order to facilitate movements, particularly by investors into the country and abolish the usual man hour loss due to immigration processes.”

Another source stated:

“Visas are now issued to foreigners on arrival at both E and D wings of the Lagos international airport from its initial D wing while no fewer than 20, 000 visas have been issued at the airport since the policy came on stream in June. Indeed, the issuing of visas on arrival, has reduced the number of foreigners going to the home offices of Nigeria abroad, as many of them now prefer to get their visas on arrival at the command.”

USA Increases Import Of Nigeria’s Crude Oil In H1 2017

United States of America increased it’s import of Nigeria’s crude oil by 32.1 percent to 52.36 million barrels in the first half of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016.

The US Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Energy Department, revealed in its latest data that the country bought a record 10.24 million barrels from Nigeria in March, the highest monthly import since July 2013. It imported 9.78 million barrels in January; 5.96 million barrels in February; 9.16 million barrels in April; 8.69 million barrels in May and 8.53 million barrels in June [2017].

With Bonny Light, Nigeria’s main export grade, averaging $51 per barrel in the first half of the year, the 52.36 million barrels imported by the US translate to an income of about $2.67 billion for the country.

The USA almost tripled the volume of crude oil bought from Nigeria last year, with the biggest monthly import of 8.43 million barrels in July. It imported 76.9 million barrels of Nigeria’s oil in 2016, up from 19.9 million barrels in 2015.

Nigeria saw significant reduction in the US imports of its crude in recent years, starting from 2012, it fell to 6.17 million in June 2013 from 10.115 million barrels in May and about 40 million barrels in March 2007.

In 2014, when global oil prices started to fall from a peak of $115 per barrel, Nigeria saw a further drop in the US imports of its crude from 87.4 million barrels in 2013 to a record low of 21.2 million barrels. For the first time in decades, the US did not purchase any barrel of Nigeria’s crude in July and August 2014 and June 2015, according to the EIA data.

Meanwhile, a handful of cargoes had traded in November so far though October cargoes of Angolan and Nigerian were still lingering as demand for that month had slowed due to limited arbitrage and stronger outright prices. There was still no sign of the Nigerian Bonny Light or Erha loading programmes for November. Bonny Light exports were still under force majeure but are expected to resume later this week as repairs on a pipeline are nearly finished.

ExxonMobil sold a cargo of Qua Iboe loading November 27-28 and a November loading cargo of Yoho, one trader said, without giving further details.