A group campaigning against the impact of climate change has demanded an end to oil and gas exploitation.
The group also demanded an end to an economy built on things beneath the ground but on things in the brains of humans in the oil region.
Climate Justice Movement (CJM) which made the demand in the oil and gas city of Port Harcourt, said this was to help reduce flooding that was ravaging the coastal areas and beyond.
Climate Justice Movement led by Mike Karikpo, made the demands when they mounted a roadshow in Port Harcourt to draw attention to ravaging environmental and climate issues.
The rally began Wednesday morning at Isaac Boro Park at Mile One and proceeded to the Brick House, the seat of power in the oil and gas city where an aide to Governor Sim Fubara collected the petition on behalf of the state government.
Addressing the press at the ‘Park’, Karikpo said: “We are building a movement of young people, of women, of community, of students, and of the media. We are working together to address the climate crises from its very root.”
He said the crowd defied rains to attend the rally, all to demonstrate the importance the people of the oil region attach to climate and environmental challenges.
He linked this to the deaths that occurred in the Niger Delta in 2012 and in other more recent years.
He said the march was to demand climate justice and to demand climate justice from those he described as ‘Our burden bearers’, referring to the state governments in the oil region and their agencies.
He said: “It is important to protect our environment because our environment is our life. Without the environment, we cannot exercise any other rights that we have as human beings.
“This morning, we will march from here to the Government House to present a petition, both to the governor and to the food response committee. We have asked that they expand and extend the flood response committee to include women, persons with disabilities, young people who suffer the greatest interest of climate change, and who are at the frontline of the climate crises. These should be part of those who decide the solution to the crisis.”
Karikpo, who is also the leader of Natural Justice (Nigeria) added that the protesters were there to make sure that their voices were heard. “This is because the only way we can accelerate any action is to come together, to work together, stand together, and to demand that our government do what is good and what is right.”
On the criticality of the coastal area, the convener said the world was dependent on fossil fuel. “In the US, for about four months, temperatures have been above 40 degrees; China and Morocco share the same experience.
“All over the world we have climate disasters taking place, yet the world is unwilling to let go of fossil fuel; including crude oil, gas and coal,” he said.