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ERA/FoEN tasks government on prospects in energy transition

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The Environmental Rights Action and Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), yesterday, urged a shift from fossil fuel to renewable sources of energy to reduce the loss of lives and improve livelihoods in the country.

The group also declared that the monumental environmental and social degradation, human rights violations, and loss of lives and livelihoods showed serious irreparable damage to the environment, some of which are unquantifiable in monetary terms.

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Executive Director, ERA/FoEN, Dr. Godwin Uyi-Ojo, made the call at an event organised in Benin City, with the theme, “Towards a Post-Petroleum Economy for Nigeria: Comparative Analysis of Oil and Gas and the Prospects of Energy Transition in Nigeria.”

Uyi-Ojo said the increasing need for a shift from fossil fuel to renewable sources of energy was based on data gathering, interviews, and focus group discussions commissioned by the ERA in its 2019/2020 research.

He stated that Nigeria remains the capital of global poverty, stressing that oil revenue has not addressed the gap of basic social amenities and infrastructure in the country.

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The ERA/FoEN executive director says a post-petroleum economy shows high potentials to address these issues by retooling the economy from oil dependency to a post-petroleum economy in a decentralised energy democracy model that gives control of power to the people.

He said: “Such a model is also environmentally friendly and generates green jobs driven by enhanced green technologies that are required to position Nigeria as the hub of the new energy in Africa.

“Therefore, there is a need for both state and non-state actors to commit to energy shift from fossil fuel to renewable energy sources because the benefits support sustainable development, reduction, and decarbonised economy that is more people-oriented.”

Uyi-Ojo added that while oil and gas production is beneficial, the social and environmental cost points to the extended impact of industry on creeks, soil, air, and mangrove forests in the communities where oil companies conduct their businesses, saying: “The massive environmental and social costs, such as oil spills and gas-flaring, loss of biodiversity and livelihoods, are sometimes irreversible. In monetary terms, the destruction, including social dislocations, disharmony, violent conflicts throughout the Niger Delta is a case in point.”

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