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Environmentalists demand zero oil exploration in Niger Delta

By Obinna Nwaoku, Port Harcourt
20 October 2021   |   2:09 am
Environmental activists, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, demanded zero oil exploration in the Niger Delta region.

Rev. Nnimmo Bassey

Environmental activists, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, demanded zero oil exploration in the Niger Delta region.

They bemoaned the destruction of biodiversity in the region while calling on the Federal Government to immediately stop the expansion of fossil fuel extraction.

They also fingered incessant rainfall and flooding in the region as one of the effects of climate change caused by oil exploration.

Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Dr. Nnimmo Bassey, while making a presentation at the Oilwatch Global Gathering in Port Harcourt themed, ‘Demanding Real Zero Not Net-zero’, explained that oil exploration has never made any country rich. He noted that despite six decades of oil exploration in Nigeria, the country remains impoverished.

Bassey said net-zero carbon emissions are like a subversion of nature, arguing that the world needs to stop using fossil fuels.

He said: “Government and corporations are talking about achieving net-zero carbon emissions, which means, ‘keep emitting the carbon, then you find ways of either capturing the carbon and burning it somewhere or planting some trees to absorb the carbon’. That is what net-zero means.

“It is as if people are trying to solve global warming by mathematics. But nature does not work that way. The world and Nigeria need to stop the use of fossil fuels. And in fact, nobody or country should go on looking for new oil, gas, or fuel reserves.

“Scientists have told us that we cannot afford to burn all the known reserves of fossil fuel right now. If not, the world is going to have a temperature that human beings can’t survive on.”

“The real solution is not net-zero, but not continuing to burn fossil fuel. That is the solution, and we have been saying this for many years. Leave the oil in the ground, if we are going to have the possibility of surviving as humans in the world.”

He warned: “We are going to have more floods, more desertification, higher temperatures, and water stress, and we are going to lose land because in the Niger Delta, land is already being lost at up to one metre or two metres every year on the coastal lane. And many states are also losing lands to desertification. So, it is more crises unless something real is done.

“The Niger Delta presents a platform for job creation. If the government decides to clean up the entire Niger Delta, it will create employment for all youths in this country to do cleanup. That could even boost the economy. And then we will have a clean environment to farm on and fish in and be healthy. A healthy population is a healthy economy.”

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