Group tasks Nigeria to urgently embrace renewable energy sources

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By Jerry Aguigbo

The urgent search most countries for a seamless transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy options is yielding astonishing results, with some of these countries giving deadlines and putting a time line to the end of the use.
With electric cars taking the place of petrol engines, Nigeria’s lack of an existing action plan for a transition from fossil fuel to cleaner renewable energy sources is a major worry for environmentalists who gathered recently at a 2 day conference held in Port Harcourt Rivers State to look at what the future holds for Nigeria in her almost none existent transition plan.

The Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) noted that Nigeria is not ready for post a petroleum economy, it therefore called for an immediate energy process that will decentralise energy system in the country.

Expressing the need for African countries to urgently embrace renewable energy sources, ERA said this apt so as not to be left behind in the ongoing rapid global movement from dirty energy to clean energy.

 

Executive Director of ERA, Dr. Godwin Ojo who stated this in his keynote address during the 2-day conference on “Transitional Justice and Nigeria Beyond Oil: Scorecard for Ogoniland Cleanup”, held on Tuesday in Port Harcourt, stressed the need for African countries, particularly Nigeria to divest funds from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

ERA/FoEN was of the view that time was running out against African countries in catching up with the rest of the world by their slow approaches to accepting and investing in solar energy.

Dr. Ojo noted that on a global level, countries are making comprehensive plans to transit from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources and cleaner technologies by the year 2030 in line with the Paris Agreement of 2015, while on the contrary, Nigeria was still neck deep in seeking investments for oil prospecting.

Continuing he said, by 2025, some European countries have committed to end production of petrol-diesel cars and fully embrace renewable energy.

“Transitional justice requires that rich countries pay ecological debts to compensate for Nigeria’s stranded assets such as oil and gas reserves, account for the historical carbon emissions released into the atmosphere and address loss and damage for fairness and equity including payment of compensation to victims of climate change.

“What we found in Nigeria is that the country made commitment but the commitments are not far reaching. We are also seeing the situation that Nigeria is still prospecting for oil, is channeling huge resources to issues that are related to petroleum and gas.

“So, we are saying that the money, finances, and loans that they get should be removed from fossil fuel and place in renewable energy. We are calling on the federal government to ensure that Shell Petroleum Development Company and other oil companies do not run away from onshore because they need to account for the monumental loses and the problems they have caused the Niger Delta before they can sell their products.

“We are calling on the federal government to put in place energy democracy process that will allow stand alone energy and I think that with that it will decentralise energy system and Nigeria will be able to address its energy root.

“We are also calling for leave the energy in the soil, which simply means the post petroleum economy for Nigeria. Nigeria can live beyond oil but Nigeria seems not to be ready for the post petroleum economy because she is still drilling oil in Chad and Gongola Basin and this is very ironical”, Dr Ojo stated.

Continuing, he noted that his organization and its allies including civil society groups, community-based organizations, community representatives across Nigeria have recognized the urgent need for energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

He frowned at the slow migration from dependence on fossils by the federal government, insisted that the disadvantages of fossil fuels are far greater than their advantages, adding that whereas solar energy has all round advantages without any dangerous impact on the users and the environment.

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