By Ogechi Jonah
Stakeholders have expressed concerns with the recent challenges that have greeted the nation’s cashless policy if Nigeria would be able to meet the 2060 target to end use of crude oil as it concern the Federal Government Energy Transition Plan (ETP).
Recalls that vice President Yemi Osinbajo had last year inaugurated the Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan (ETP) which he said would require funding of about 1.9 trillion U.S. dollars up to 2060.
Osinbajo had said that the nation’s Energy Transition Plan seeks to tackle the dual crises of energy poverty and climate change, and deliver universal energy access (SDG7) by 2030 and net-zero by 2060.
Speaking at a one-day community workshop on Energy Transition in Nigeria’s oil rich communities for Delta State held at DSC 2, permanent camp conference hall, Udu, near Warri, Delta State, weekend, stakeholders drawn from oil communities in Delta state, maintained that like the cashless policy and naira redesigned that’s mainly affecting the common-man, Nigeria’s Energy Transition plans would greatly impact the oil bearing communities and their ways of life.
Various speakers at the workshop which was organised by Extractive360 in partnership with Spaces for Change and support from a Ghana-based Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), expressed worries over federal government failure to put the plight of the host communities into consideration in the formation and implementation of the Nigeria’s Energy Transition plans.
Executive Director of Extractive360, (e-360), Juliet Ukanwosu, said that the workshop was tailored to create awareness about the new reality in the global energy space and how it can affect oil producing communities in Delta State.
Ukanwosu who was represented by Dr Mercy Makpor, senior research officer at E-360, said that the event is a very significant one as it’s meant to sensitize participants about the global energy transition campaign, how it relates to Nigeria’s Energy Transition plans and how it will impact on our communities and present ways of life”.
She noted that the Niger Delta where the nation’s oil wealth is exploited from over the years have been left with devastating effects, from environmental degradation to air and water pollution.
“It is needless to state that many communities have lost their farmlands and rivers, which is their primary means of livelihood as a result of oil exploration. Everyone here today knows of these negative effects. I’m sure everyone has a unique story to tell.
“While, we are yet seeking justice for this age-long environmental injustice in the Niger Delta, the new reality is the move from crude oil to renewable energy sources. What this means is that the world is moving away from the use of oil to more environmental friendly energy sources such as wind, water, and solar.
“This is a global move following the Paris Agreement; it is not about Nigeria alone. Countries have committed to different dates when they intend to stop use of crude oil. This means that very soon, no one will be buying Nigeria’s oil. Nigeria itself, has committed to end use of crude oil by the year 2060.
“The question now is, when this target is met what happens to the people of the Niger Delta? The people in Delta State whose environments have been devastated? What alternative livelihoods can they have? What new jobs can they engage in? How well did Nigeria do to include the opinions of communities in the Energy Transition Plan (ETP)? What plans are there for environmental clean-up?
In an interview with newsmen, Dr Makpor said that how the communities can be incorporated into the ETP were some of the issues and questions that were addressed at the meeting adding “we discussed in details the findings of a research conducted in attempt to provide answers to these questions”.
Addressing journalists on the sidelines of the event, representative of Spaces for Change, Chetachi Louis Odeh, said that about four nongovernmental organizations collaborated to carry out the research on the Energy Transition Plan (ETP) and had made recommendations to the federal government.
“We discovered that the national transition plan was silent on the perspective of the oil rich communities where oil extraction have been going on for decades and that was what brought about our going into the communities to hear from the communities where the oil is taken out from to know their interest and concerns.
“Transiting to a greener energy or another source of energy is a very beautiful idea but we are saying that if that is going to be done the communities where extraction have gone on for decades shouldn’t be left the way the oil companies left them. A lot of things have happened to their environment and nobody is saying how the environment will be taken back to their former position before the extraction.
“We are transiting to another source of energy then what are the alternatives put in place before the community members? How are they going to survive, how are they going to move on? They have depended so much on fossil fuel, on extraction of crude oil, if you then remove it from them, how’re they going to cope ?
“These, and more are our concerns towards the national plan and we have to move into the communities to get their perspective. So the meeting today is to create more awareness. We have launched the report already since December 2022 so we now call this meeting to hear from the communities and to even know whether they’re aware these is what is bound tohappen
year 2060. So that’s the whole essence of this meeting” she added.
She said that recommendations have been made to the Federal Government to revamp the environment and also hold the oil companies accountable before the programme is finally launched in 2060.
“You know about the Ogoni cases that have been ongoing for a long time. Even after the verdict the judgement from the Supreme Court no clean up have happened there so we recommended that some of these oil companies should be held responsible, they should be accountable to the environment”.
Highlights of the event was the unveiling of a simplified Handbook which was designed and produced by Extractive360 based on findings from the research, to help communities easily understand the global energy transition concept.