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Nigeria far behind in meeting SDGs – Reps

The House of Representatives (HOP) on Friday emphasised that Nigeria is far behind in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), initiated by the United Nations.

Wale Raji, the House Committee Chairman on SDGs while speaking at its inauguration meeting in Abuja, identified open defecation, lack of access to potable water, hunger and inability by the authorities to eradicate poverty as some of the 17 SDG goals that the country had not done enough to achieve.

Read also: Calls grow for private sector investments to drive SDGs

The Chairman said that the Committee would use all legislative interventions to achieve the goals as well as query how much is budgeted to achieve the SDGs in the budget.

He noted that it will also sort clarifications on how States are performing in the attainment of SDGs and assured the Committee members that the SDGs committee is a committee of equals.

Read also: Nigeria failing on SDGs metrics – Don

“SDGs were crucial for the development of Nigeria and that the committee’s focus is squarely on this strategic objective. No country can be said to be developed without achieving the SDG goals. As at the last report, Nigeria is still far behind and all goals must be prioritized.

“We had interfaced with the Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SG), Raji charged the 47-member panel to initiate ideas that promote legislative intervention for achievement of the SDGs” he said.

Similarly, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation Technology has warned the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, and stakeholders in Airspace industries against tendencies that might jeopardize the safety standard across the country.

Read also: Developing countries face $4 trn investment deficit meeting SDGs – UNCTAD

Thomas Eriyetomi, the Chairman of the Committee on Aviation stated this in an interactive session with the Management staff of the College at National Assembly Complex, Abuja.

Lawmakers however observed that delaying students in a cause that should have been for two years program for three years and above should be discouraged, stressing that such inability to meet up should be blamed not on the students but on the college and its lecturers.

Eriyetomi warned the College not to unnecessarily delay students for years because of their inability to meet up to advise the college on the likelihood of changing students.

He promised his readiness to ensure effective oversight responsibility of all Nigerian Airspace and the aviation sector at large.

Responding to questions, Capt. Modibbo Alkali, the Rector of the College explained that though their training times take longer than usual as graduating students from the college are doing extremely well.

He informed the lawmakers that their major challenge is funding, saying some government agencies such as National Emergency Management Agency, (NEMA) are owing even as they continuously trained and retrain their workforce across the country.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Committee on Urban and Regional Planning, has reiterated the need for adequate planning of urban cities, saying doing so will help address insecurity and other challenges.

Awaji-Inombek Abiante, Chairman of the Committee in his inaugural speech lamented that there have practice of breaching the original plans of many urban cities.

“If our cities are properly developed, well planned, issues of disasters, issues of emergencies would be reduced. Issues of identifications would be improved because persons can be tracked to the very last location that they are. But what we find, what we have are cities lacking the very basic, relative planning for development.

“In areas where there have been seeming semblance of planning, development have not been according to plans. Areas where development have even reached, there have been cases of several distortions. There have been cases of conversions. Areas are designated as residential, people convert them to be commercial or even industrial. It negates, and would continue to negate the essence of planning and urban development.

Read also: UN tasks private sector on implementation of SDGs

According to the lawmaker, slums have continued to spring up because of the challenges. “It would be in our place to bring our experiences, and to bring our knowledge to bear, to support government, to see how these can be redeveloped and upgraded beyond what they are called today as slums”, he said.

Again, the House of Representatives Committee on Population has pledged to work with relevant stakeholders to ensure a smooth conduct census in the country.

Jimi Odimayo (APC-Ondo), Committee Chairman in his inugural meeting of said the Committee will leave no stone unturned in the discharge of its responsibilities on any matter referred to the committee by bringing its competences to bear in every issue.

The Chairman said developing strategies for the implementation of the aforesaid policies, including their financing from local and foreign sources is also a part of its mandate.

According to him, the Committee has a mandate to ensure comprehensive and effective national policy on the nation’s population statistics and demographic data and pledged to run an all-inclusive administration.