The nigerian government seemed prepared as it has put in place some implementation frameworks. However, the implementation process of SDGs in Nigeria has never been without some challenges though governments are doing all they can to ensure that they banish poverty and hunger in the land. Much more needs to be done especially in this Decade of Action to accelerate the implementation of SDGs. Nigeria has a population of 201 million according to the UNFPA. It is sad to note that according to The World Poverty Clock, Nigeria, with over 90 million poor people, has overtaken India as the world’s poverty headquarters. This figure translates to over 50 per cent of Nigerians suffering from extreme poverty. According to National Bureau of Statistics, 22.64 million youths aged 15 and 35 bracket are unemployed while yearly the number is increasing considering the number of youth passing out from higher institutions without a ready job.
On a country-wide basis, implementation has been rather low up until now as the critical mass of citizens have not yet been well engaged on what the SDGs are about and their expected roles/contributions. Areas needing attention include poverty, health, power, and security. Several of the SDGs appear to be covered as specific commitments that touch on sustainability in the transport, energy, housing and urban development, digital and bio-economy, financial sector, international relations, human capital development. However, Ending Poverty (SDG-1), health and well-being (SDG-3), education (SDG-4), and an inclusive economy (SDG-8), gender equality (SDG-5); enabling environment of peace and security (SDG-16) and partnerships (SDG-17) appear to be given greater priority by the Government as outlined in the 2nd Voluntary National Report (2020).
National planning, implementation and budget commitments
There are some institutional frameworks in place responsible for playing one role or the other in the delivery of the SDGs. Apart from Committees at the level of National assembly, there is the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the president (OSSAP) on SDGs responsible for drawing up implementation plan. There is a 10-year implementation plan recently been developed by OSSAP-SDGs covering 2020-2030. It is titled Roadmap for SDGs Implementation in Nigeria (2020- 2030) by OSSAP-SDGs. There are some measures through which SDG would be financed. Some of them are: Alternative Financing Arrangement SDGs Financing Hub Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF) ODA as a catalyst to attract other sources of funding in Nigeria Improved Institutional Coordination to support Domestic Resource Mobilization Improved Taxation, Budgeting and Financing Practices and Private domestic resources.
Progress since last VNR
Nigeria did its VNR in 2017 and 2020. The first VNR was bereft of input from civil society, very generic and somewhat shambolic; the 2017 VNR outlined the institutional dimensions for creating an enabling policy environment for the implementation of the SDGs through its Economic and Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) i.e. 2017-2020. The 2020 VNR however focused on Ending poverty (SDG-1), health and wellbeing (SDG-3), Education (SDG-4), Gender equality (SDG-5), an inclusive economy (SDG-8), an enabling environment of peace and security (SDG-16), and strengthening partnerships (SDG-17). The national Action Plan is contained in NIGERIA SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS IMPLEMENTATION PLAN 2020-2030. To some extent the national SDG plan is consistent with the national policies especially ERGP.
Key communities who face being left behind
Women & Girls, Children & young people, Indigenous peoples, Older persons, Persons with disabilities, People discriminated by caste, work and descent, rural dwellers, People from the LGBTQI community, Small scale farmers, Ethnic & Religious minority groups, Migrants or undocumented persons, Artisans, Market women, Persons undertaking menial jobs.
How have you engaged across communities?
We engage with a number of voiceless and vulnerable including LGBTQI. In the case of LGBTQI, there is a bill against them. There is also a systemic discrimination against persons with disabilities. We often organize programs tailored to the need of persons with disabilities while we also talk to governments about their plight. We are engaging the rural communities where governments do not seem to care about them as they suffer neglect over time. 83 million (40%) out of about 210 million Nigerians live below poverty line of #137,430 ($381.7) per annum (Researchgate.net, 2020). While 48.8 per cent Nigerians live in rural communities 52 per cent are poor. A rural community in Nigeria is characterized by few decent buildings most of which are mud-built. The rural settlement sparse population is below 20,000 inhabitants generally while in some cases less than 20 persons are found there. Though both men and women, children and adults populate our rural communities, many more young people and able-bodied persons often migrate to urban centers looking for greener pastures and better life. It is not uncommon to find in rural settlements vulnerable people including aged women and men, children, poor farmers, artisans, persons with disabilities, and the poorest of the poor living in indecent environment. Social amenities including hospitals, utilities, electricity supplies, water, good road, and modest transport system are lacking. The summary of it all is that the rural population in Nigeria has suffered neglect by government though there are local government councils that should bring about development and cater to the needs of such settlement.
Overview of climate change
Climate change is increasingly posing one of the biggest threats to our country, Nigeria. Climate Change is affecting our people especially the poor farmers in rural communities. Many of them are ignorant of the effect of climate change on their productivity; they only wander about and complain of erratic rainfall or excessive drought. They are flabbergasted about the changes in weather attributing it to the act of God. In addition, the herdsmen-farmers’ clashes expressed in wonton killings by Fulani herdsmen especially in Benue State is attributed to the attendant effect of climate change as the herders need to move southwards looking for pastures for their cattle. Government is making frantic efforts to stick to the Paris Agreement while they have also enacted policies and bills on Climate Change. One of such is the Climate Change Framework Bill 2017 which seeks to mainstream climate change response actions into government policy formulation.
Climate change is affecting negatively our farmers who seem not understand the frequent change in weather condition. Noticeable is desert encroachment and environmental degradation across the country. Farmers' harvests are poor leading to paucity of food stuff though the activities of killer herdsmen also cause food scarcity because most of the time their cattle are made to graze on farms with impunity. The initial policy on Climate Change had some loopholes which necessitated a revised policy. In June 2, 2021 the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the Revised National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) and the National Climate Change Programmes for Nigeria. The objective of the new policy is to implement mitigation measures and promote low-carbon, high-growth economic development and also strengthen adaptation towards a sustainable climate resilient development Pathway.
Civil society priorities
The most crucial demand is for government to make economy work. There is the need to prioritize the 17 SDGs in a manner consistent to the yearnings and aspiration of Nigerian people. To be taken seriously are the first order goals from Goal 1 (poverty) to Goal 7 (clean and affordable energy) while the issue of inequality (Goal 10) and peace and access to justice (Goal 16) should not be left out. In fact Goal 16+ is the bed rock of other goals whose realization hinges on the realization of other goals. To be addressed are commonplace foibles such as impunity, corruption, insecurity, and shrinking civic space all of which impinge on the work of civil society and ossify the attainment of 2030 Agenda.
There have been obnoxious actions and policies targeted at civil society by government in order to stifle the former. These include measures banning public demonstrations and other forms of public expression being met with police brutality. In Nigeria, there is much impunity and violation of the rule of law as governments are adamant to court rulings against them. Many political prisoners like Sambo Dasuki, and prisoners of conscience like Ibrahim El-Zakisaky, some journalists like Agba Jalingo, Omoyele Sowore and civil society actors were kept behind bars despite court injunction to release them on bail. We demand that the shrinking civic space be reversed. We demand good governance, transparency, and accountability without which SDGs will not be realisable.
Civil society engagement
CSCSD as a national umbrella coalition is not relenting. Between 2012 and 2013, we organized grassroots deliberations on “the kind of Nigeria we want”. We were also part of the UNDP-led consultations on post-2015 development agenda in 2015. We produced a 260+ page book titled “A Compendium of Deliberations on Post-2015 Development Agenda” shared widely and serving as an advocacy tool with the government (Copies, available). At the SDGs inception in January 2016, we presented “Policy Asks” document to federal and state governments so as to encourage them to hit the ground running lest SDGs suffer the same setbacks that MDGs suffered. In September 2018, in conjunction with the Ministry of Water Resources Abuja we organized a roundtable on National Water Resources Bill before the 8th Senate.
Governments are difficult to work with. They are always suspicious of civil society. We face challenges, for example, when we do budget tracking as government officials are unwilling to make available both federal and state budgets. Having policy dialogue with them is difficult.
CSCSD has translated the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Goals into Yoruba Language while we also came up with the annotated editions of the 17 Goals for better understanding of the local people. Local governments unfortunately are not actively engaged in the SDGs because the federal government is yet to trickle SDGs down to the local government; CSOs are the ones making efforts to bring SDGs down to the local level because many of them are at the grassroots already. CSCSD has a Think Tank drawn from the academia who are responsible for our baseline and other studies. An example of such is “Citizens’ Voices for a Better State – A Report on SDGs Household Baseline Survey in Ogun State, Nigeria (2018).”