Energy Transition: Space for Change, others seek justice for affected oil communities

SPACE for Change, Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre, and Extractive 360 have declared that communities in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta affected by government’s energy transition plan must not be neglected.

The bodies made this known in a statement they issued today at the unveiling of a report titled, ‘Energy Transition in Nigeria’s Oil-Rich Communities’.

The report was supported by the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP).

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The report prioritises the involvement of communities in the green economy and stresses the importance of addressing environmental injustices, while creating alternative livelihood for those who could be affected.

The statement, which was jointly signed by Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, Fyneface Dumnameme and Juliet Alohan, emphasised that community inclusion and participation was key in correcting mistakes of pollution in Niger-Delta states.

It also noted that Nigeria, despite contributing less to the world’s energy-related carbon emissions, was witnessing radical change in climatic conditions that affected its food security.

The statement stressed that
radical changes in climatic conditions like intense rainfalls, heavy flooding, deprecating costal lines due to rising sea levels, drought and desertification were taking their toll on developing countries like Nigeria, and affecting food security.

“The national energy transition plans are silent on communities that have borne the brunt of fossil fuel extraction for several decades, many of whose livelihoods are dependent on crude oil and local refining.

    “The national transition plans and policies neither made arrangements
    for clean-up, remediation, compensation, and rehabilitation of oil-rich communities, nor
    for addressing the massive environmental damage that has accompanied the country’s
    protracted dependence on fossil fuels,” the statement added.

    It further noted that decades of neglect, widespread environmental damage, and monumental poverty had contributed to popularizing the environmentally damaging but money-spinning artisanal refining trade.

    Nigeria is phasing out fossil fuels as part of its commitment to achieve net zero by 2060. The Vice President Yemi Osinbajo launched Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan (ETP) on August 24, 2022, establishing the country’s strategy to reach a net-zero emissions energy system by 2060.

    As a result, several global funders like the World Bank and the African Development Bank are of the view that Nigeria should begin to explore global opportunities in clean energy and decarbonisation.

    Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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