The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), has called on the federal government to exhibit serious political will to invest on renewal energy sources as alternative to fossil energy.
ERA/FoEN also urged the government to decentralise energy production and supply system through an energy democracy transition model that allows communities and individuals to be co-producers of energy as well as suppliers as end users.
The Executive Director of ERA, Dr. Godwin Ojo, made the call in Port-Harcourt during, Rivers state to mark World environment day.
The environmental activist maintained that it was high time government proscribed the use of fossil fuel propelled equipment, including vehicles and other motorised machines in the country and follo trending alternative renewable energy sources across the world like solar energy.
This, he said, will save the country from becoming dumping ground for fossil fuel powered engines, vehicles, and machine in the near future.
Insisting the country can survive without fossil fuel, he urged the government to dedicate some percentage of revenue to the project, between now and the year 2030, to achieve the demand.
He said: “Can Nigeria survive without oil and gas since it is heavily dependent on oil currently accounting for over 80% of its revenue receipts? In spite of the estimated US$600billion from oil revenue in the past decades, about 99% of Nigeria’s 200 million population remain in abject poverty, lacking basic social amenities and victims of serious energy poverty.
“Nigerian’s oil dependency has led to shrinking socio-economic opportunities arising from failure to diversify the economy from oil sector to a return to agricultural boom and net exporter of food in the 1960s/70s.
“The oil and gas sector is also fueling corruption, massive environmental degradation and a weakening of environmental laws and non-compliance.
“In Nigeria’s Niger Delta, air pollution is one of the major environmental problems confronting the region as it plays host to most of the upstream and downstream oil-related industries and non-oil related industries that release tons of pollutants into the ecosystem. The pollution from the Niger Delta on a scale is regarded as one of the worst among similar delta areas in the world.
“The impact of frequent oil spills and persistent gas flaring on the environment and people of Nigeria contribute to air pollution, water and soil contamination.
“This is increasing the rate of carbon emission released into the atmosphere with serious health hazard, livelihood destruction and communities impoverishment from destruction of their fishing and farming practices. An energy revolution that will deliver on energy access and generation of green jobs is now.
“We urge the government to immediately divest public finance, loans and subsidies from fossil fuel exploitation and channel such resources to investment in renewal energy sources to improve energy access for all.”
On the Ogoni clean- up, the Executive Director of ERA, stated the exercise has been touted as an environmental legacy of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s led government, adding that the “government scored near zero for its poor environmental protection record”.