Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has urged 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.
The environmental rights group stated 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.
Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Dr Godwin Uyi Ojo gave this advice in a keynote address on, “Transitional Justice and Nigeria Beyond Oil,” during a two-day conference on Climate Justice held in Port Harcourt.
He stressed the need for African countries, particularly Nigeria to divest funds from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
Ojo noted that 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.
According to him, by 2025, some European countries have committed to end the production of petrol-diesel cars and fully embrace renewable energy.
He said 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, adding that 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 said.
Oko noted that if the above is allowed to take place, it means that the third world countries would be a dumping ground which will have a serious impact on the environment, health and general well being of the people.
“How will Africa react to this pending crisis waiting to happen and how will the rich countries respond to this during the COP 26 coming up in Glasgow later in the year Dr Ojo rhetorically asked? Transitional justice requires that rich countries pay ecological debts to compensate for Nigeria’s stranded assets such as oil and gas reserves, account for the historical carbon emissions released into the atmosphere and address loss and damage for fairness and equity including payment of compensation to victims of climate change, “he declared.
While reasoning that Nigeria beyond oil is very feasible with several benefits accruable to the country, the Executive Director of ERA/FoEN noted that his organisation and its allies including civil society groups, community-based organizations, community representatives across Nigeria have recognized the urgent need for an energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
He, however, expressed displeasure over the slow migration from dependence on fossils by the federal government which is still neck-deep in seeking investments for oil prospecting especially in the Gongola/ Chad Basins and has committed billions of dollars to the expansion of Nigeria’s oil and gas reserves.