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Environmentalists warn against over-dependence on fossil fuel

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ERA canvasses transition to renewable energy
Environmentalists have warned against the continued dependence on fossil fuel pointing out that the COVID-19 pandemic may have been partially contained through lockdowns, but stressed that the unfolding climatic catastrophe would precipitate a devastating knockdown on the continent and the earth.

In a 12-point communique issued at the end of the Oilwatch Africa’s virtual annual general meeting (AGM) with the theme, “We can’t breathe – Africa Choking on COVID and Fossil flames” in Calabar yesterday, by the Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Comrade Nnimmo Bassey, the experts observed: “There is, therefore, an urgent need for Africa to view the fossil fuel sector with scepticism, hostility and a willingness to promote its shutdown.”

They went on: “The retrogressive economies, deepening inequalities and irresponsible exploitation of our peoples and environments must now decisively end, before any further damage is done.

“We have always endorsed divestment from oil, coal, gas and petrochemical companies. And this wisdom is confirmed, as their assets now sell at massively discounted prices. These firms are taking unprecedented hits to their balance sheets, slashing dividend payouts for shareholders and racking up debt to preserve a facade of stability. Even the petrochemical sector – hailed by industry leaders as a panacea for future growth – has been exposed for its unviable economic prospects. There is a general ruinous exposure of the entire fossil fuels ‘global value chain’ now better described as a devaluation chain.”

The resolution was endorsed by Africa Coal Network; JVE, Cote d’Ivoire; Oilwatch Ghana, Ghana; HOMEF, Nigeria; Friends of Lake Turkana, Kenya; Justiça Ambiental, Mozambique; Green Alliance of Nigeria, Nigeria; Peace Point Development Foundation, Nigeria; Oil Change Africa, Swaziland; Les Amis de la Terre/Oilwatch, Togo and seven others.

In the same vein, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), yesterday, canvassed a transition to renewable energy sources, believing the dream was achievable following its training of over 6000 youths from Edo, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states.

The Executive Director, Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo, made the call yesterday in Benin City during the third Youth Environmental Camp Meeting with the theme, “Extraction to Education.”

He said the youths were trained on business models, renewable energy entrepreneurship, repairs and installation of solar gadgets as well as fabrication of energy-saving cooking stoves.

Ojo added that they have also groomed over 300 secondary school teachers and produced environmental education and renewable energy manual for internalisation by the60 renewable energy school clubs set up across the four states.

He said the theme was geared at galvanising a shift from the present carbonised economy to a decarbonised one.

In his remarks, Director General of the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria, (NAPTIN), Mr. Ahmed Bolaji Nagode, said both establishments were collaborating to retool the youths with requisite competencies to fit in well into today’s dynamic society.


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