Port Harcourt — Oilwatch Nigeria has regretted that the Federal Government was still neck deep in relying on fossil fuel, despite the huge environmental monstrosity it has had on the country, leading to loss of lives and biodiversity.
Oilwatch Nigeria, is an umbrella of civil society groups, who are focused on the shift from fossil fuel dependency, to renewable sources of energy, while striving for the total cleanup of Ogoniland as well as the entire Niger Delta region.
The group arising from its first general assembly on the 25th Anniversary of the Martyrs of the Ogoni Nine, held in Port Harcourt, said the Federal Government need to change the belief in commodity market revival which mostly is dependence on fossil fuels.
The Host Secretariat, Oilwatch Nigeria, Emem Okon, insisted that the country should no longer be dependent upon export earnings from crude oil, especially when seen as a means of recovery from COVID-19.
Okon, who is also the Executive Director of Kebetkache Women and Development Center, said such belief has its failings, as evident in rising inflation in the country and its impacts on the environment.
“There should be an immediate halt to every form of new extractive activities (Fossil fuel/ Mining) in Nigeria, as activities from the extractive sectors cause harm to natural environment and lead to massive loss of our biodiversity.
“No to further exploration and exploitation of our natural resources. Leave oil, Coal and Gas in the ground.
“Climate change should feature as a priority in budgeting and meaningful efforts should be made in reducing its menace.
“The federal government should begin a quick transition from fossil fuels to alternative sources of energy through energy decentralization that is non-grid, locally owned and managed by communities themselves.
“All sources of pollution should immediately be brought to an end. These include active illegal bunkering activities as well as the practice by the military’s Joint Task Force of setting ablaze tankers impounded with stolen petroleum products The latter is an emerging major source of pollution with immediate devastating health impact.”
The civil society groups also demanded that politics should stay far from the ongoing Ogoni clean up process to ensure transparency and accountability to the people.
Okon said the cleanup process should be fast tracked to bring hope to a people who depend on their environment for their existence.
“The Nigerian government should immediately exonerate Ken Saro Wiwa and other murdered Ogoni sons as they were not criminals, rather they were ordinary Nigerians who were concerned about their environment and the wellbeing of their people for a clean environment.
“Federal and State governments, should equip and strengthen relevant agencies and parastatals to conduct and document evidence-based environmental monitoring to aid in proper environmental decision making (planning and enforcement).
“The Government must ensure that the Ken Saro-Wiwa memorial bus be immediately released and returned to the people of Ogoni to restore dignity and a sign of sincerity in the cleanup of the Niger Delta.”