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Dr. Salisu Dahiru, setting the pace for Nigeria’s climate change Agenda

By Nneka Nwogwugwu 

Dr. Salisu Dahiru, a former director of the Department of Forestry, Federal Ministry of Environment has been appointed the pioneer Director-General of the National Council on Climate Change.

President Muhammadu Buhari while making this appointment, mandated Dr Dahiru to drive implementation of the Nigeria’s Climate Change Agenda and the National Climate Change Action Plan, including the development of a carbon market framework and a National Adaptation Plan, which will be in sync with the aspirations enshrined in our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).

The National Council on Climate Change became necessary to establish after the Climate Change Bill was presented to the House of Assembly.

The Bill which has now be signed into law by President Buhari as the Climate Change Act makes provisions for the constitution of a National Council on Climate Change (NCCC).

By constituting the NCCC, it was stated that it will be  headed by the President, with lawmakers including ministers of relevant ministries, chairman of the Governors’ Forum, President of ALGON, National Security Adviser, representatives of the youths, Persons Living with Disabilities, women, climate-related NGOs, the private sector.

After many months of signing this law,  some members of civil society organisations (CSOs) in June, called on the government to begin the implementation of the climate change Act.

They argued that despite mounting life-threatening climate change crises in Nigeria, the federal government is yet to inaugurate the National Council on Climate Change (NCCC) which will implement policies and projects toward mitigating the impact on Nigerians.

Barr Yahaya Dangana, an environmental activist in an interview with Daily Trust in June, wondered why months after, the NCCC was not inaugurated and the secretariat established to implement the provisions of the Act.

In a quick response, the Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Environment, Saghir el Mohammed, on Friday in Abuja, released a statement announcing the appointment of Dr Salisu Dahiru, as the pioneer DG of the Council which takes effect from 25th July, 2022.

Through findings from NatureNews Africa, Dr. Dahiru’s appointment will set a pace for Nigeria’s climate change Agenda.

This is evaluated on the basis of his massive contributions to climate change fight since becoming a public servant under the Federal Ministry of Environment.

Born 15th of February 1962, in Keffi Nasarawa State of Nigeria, Dr Dahiru began his formal education at the Ahmadu Maikwato Primary School, Keffi in 1968 and subsequently finished from the Federal Government College, Ilorin in 1979. 

He proceeded to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he earned his Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in Botany (1984). Dahiru has an MSc Degree in Cytogenetics and Plant Breeding from the University of Jos, Plateau State In 1993, and in 2019, bagged his PhD in Environmental Resources Management from the Nasarawa State University, Keffi.

Dr Dahiru began his career in 1985 at the Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi where he was a Lecturer. In 1992, he transferred to the Ministry of Federal Capital Territory, Abuja as Principal Forestry Officer and later as Chief Forestry Officer responsible for Forest Resources Management and Administration, and the Coordination of Nigeria’s Accelerated Industrial Crops Production Programme. In 1998 he was promoted to the position of Assistant Director, Parks and Recreation where he was responsible for the Development and Management of the Abuja Parks.

He joined the Federal Ministry of Environment as an Assistant Director Forestry, in 2006. At the Ministry, he served as the Desk Officer, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) where he represented Nigeria at various CBD international fora.  From 2012 to 2013, he served as Special Assistant to the Minister of Environment; and also, as a Board Member of the Nigeria Agricultural Research Council and National Parks Service Representing the Federal Ministry of Environment from 2013 to 2015.

Between 2010 and 2015, he was, in addition to his other duties, appointed the National Coordinator, Reducing Emission for Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), a United Nations Programme for Climate Change mitigation, where he was the Team Lead and was responsible for Mainstreaming of REDD+ into the country’s National Development Agendas; and enhancing synergies with the Ministry’s Great Green Wall Programme (GGW) and the National Afforestation Programme (NAP). 

In 2013, while still coordinating the REDD+ programme, he was elevated to the rank of Director of Forestry and Head, Federal Department of Forestry.

In May 2015, given his strong commitment to national assignment over the years, Dr Salisu Dahiru was appointed the National Project Coordinator of the World Bank-funded Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project. In this capacity, he was responsible for overseeing and coordinating the implementation of Erosion Control Projects in the 23 NEWMAP Participating States across Nigeria.

Dr Dahiru is a recipient of several awards and recognitions including Leadership Distinction Award by Nigeria Organization for Youth Advancement (2015); Special Recognition for Contributions to the Development of Nasarawa State by Nasarawa State Governor (2016) and the “Environment Support and Protection Award” by the Environment Outreach Magazine (2016) among others.

According to the statement by the Environment Ministry, his vast experience in working with the World Bank and other Development Partners will positively enhance his effectiveness and efficiency in the smooth implementation of the National Climate Change Agenda.

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