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President Muhammadu Buhari has restated Nigeria’s commitment to a rapid and strategic transition to renewable energy in response to the world-wide efforts for the preservation of the environment, saying that the country’s energy transition plan will create about 340,000 jobs by 2030 and up to 840,000 by 2060.

Buhari said this while speaking on Wednesday at a leaders’ closed-door meeting on climate change convened by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Antonio Guterres at the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly in New York.

He stressed that his administration had, in August this year, launched a home-grown, data-backed, multi-pronged energy transition plan, which is the country’s framework in achieving net-zero emissions by 2060.

He highlighted some of the details in the plan, saying that through the use of emerging technologies and alternative fuels such as hydrogen, bioenergy and waste-to-energy, a pathway would be created for accelerated decarburisation of energy systems and harnessing of new and diverse technologies towards low carbon development while aligning to a broader developmental aspirations in a fair and just manner.

Speaking further, the Nigerian leader said, “The plan also sets out a timeline and framework for the attainment of emissions reduction across five key sectors: power, cooking, oil and gas, transport and industry,” adding that, “gas will play a critical role as a transition fuel in Nigeria’s net-zero pathway, particularly in the power and cooking sectors.

“The clean energy goals of the plan include modernising the power sector with large-scale integration of renewable energy, enhancing energy efficiency and conservation and is expected to generate 250 gigawatts of installed energy capacity with over 90 per cent made up of renewables.”

Expressing his confidence that the plan would put the nation on the path of prosperity, President Buhari said that a careful implementation would create significant investment opportunities as it would engender the establishment and expansion of industries related to solar energy, hydrogen and electric vehicles.

“It will guide Nigeria’s rapid transition to renewable energy and result in significant  job creation with up to 340,000 jobs created by 2030 and up to 840,000 jobs created by 2060 driven mainly by power, cooking and transport sectors.”

He commended Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, for his tireless efforts in the preparations for the COP27 and  assured him of the support of the Nigerian government.

Buhari had also called on African countries and their Arab partners to work hard and be more united to realise common objectives.

A statement issued by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity), said while speaking at a bilateral meeting with the President of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, in New York, President Buhari said the actualisation of the UN resolution which proposed a two-state solution to the crisis between Israel and Palestine required a platform to think creatively on how to engage the rest of the world on the matter.

“The rest of the world needs to be apprised on the current state of things between Palestine and Israel in order to commit to the way forward. There should be better collaboration between African countries on one side and our Arab brothers to get to the end of this matter,” Buhari said.

The statement informed that the Palestinian President had visited his Nigerian counterpart to thank him for being a consistent supporter of the Palestinian cause even as he reflected it in his (Buhari’s) address at the floor of the General Assembly and to solicit his support by rallying other African countries to their side.

Abbas regretted that the Palestinian issue had dragged for a long time without commensurate progress, adding that there is a daily loss of lives on the Palestinian side.

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He added that Palestinians had decided to pursue a peaceful path towards resolving the matter by relying on nations like Nigeria to help in a peaceful resolution of the two-state solution as recommended by the United Nations resolution.

In another meeting with Mr Mahamadou Issoufou, former President of Niger Republic and Special Envoy of the UN and African Union on Joint Strategic Assessment  and Governance Situation in the Sahel, President Buhari assured the Special Envoy of the support of Nigeria in the discharge of his assignment bordering on seeking political and economic solutions to issues confronting countries in the Sahel.

President Buhari stressed the essence of a collaboration between the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the Green Great Wall in order to combat the desertification spreading across some African states as well as finding practical solutions to the displacement of over 30 million persons whose means of livelihood depended on the shrunken Lake Chad.

The President expressed optimism that with his wealth of experience and capacity, Mr Issoufou would get the job done.

The former Nigerian leader had informed President Buhari that they required Nigerian support to raise funds for their activities especially as desertification was spreading across a number of African countries and most of the countries are severely challenged. He added that the committee needed to visit the countries involved to know their specific needs and would, at his instance, be in Nigeria in October this year.

He requested President Buhari to convene a side event at the COP 27 meeting in November in Egypt so that it can come up with a rich outcome for the committee to use as a basis for its report.