The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria not to use the cleanup of Ogoniland as an opportunity to provide job for the “boys” or party loyalists.
Godwin Uyi-Ojo, executive director of the group, in a statement made available to newsmen in Benin City, urged the Federal Government to keep politicians far away from the cleanup process and allow the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other capable individuals to manage the cleanup process to ensure it does not fail.
Ojo, in the statement titled, ‘No clean up, no justice: a decade of failure?’, frowned at the inclusion of politicians in the recently reconstituted Governing Council and the Board of Trustees of HYPREP.
“The recently reconstituted Governing Council and the Board of Trustees of HYPREP is peopled by politicians expressing a sense of political patronage. The cleanup process should not be used as an opportunity to provide job for the ‘boys’ or party loyalists.
“This cleanup, if well managed, could rightly be described as a turning point in the history of the people of Ogoni and the entire Niger Delta region. It could also provide the yardstick to determine whether the over 31 million people who call this region home will live or die,” he said.
The statement also questioned the delay over the release of at least USD200 million yearly for initial five years period which should have amounted to USD1 billion by 2021.
He, however, lamented that the multinational oil companies, especially the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) had in the course of their operations waged a genocidal environmental war against the Ogoniland and the entire Niger Delta region’s lands, rivers, streams, culture and people.
He stressed the need for African countries, particularly Nigeria, to divest funds from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
The ERA/FoEN executive director advised that the divestment of public finance, loans and subsidies from fossil fuels should be invested in the renewable energy development and development of cleaner technologies.
He opined that the investment offers the opportunity for a post petroleum Nigeria.
He expressed the need for African countries to urgently embrace renewable energy sources so as not to be left behind in the ongoing rapid global movement from dirty energy to clean energy.
Ojo noted that time was running out against African countries in catching up with the rest of the world by their slow approaches to accepting and investing in solar energy.
“Whereas on a global level, countries are making comprehensive plans to transit from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources and cleaner technologies by the year 2030 in line with the Paris Agreement of 2015, Nigeria was still neck deep in seeking investments for oil prospecting.
“By 2025, some European countries have committed to end production of petrol-diesel cars and fully embrace renewable energy. Already, there are trade-in schemes to get rid of petrol-diesel cars in place of the emerging and fast spreading electric cars in developed countries.
“In Africa, there is the genuine fear of energy colonialism if all the disused and obsolete energy systems and petrol engines and vehicles are shipped to Africa as Greek gifts or even for sale,” he added.