Voices of resistance against fossil fuel canvase shift towards renewable energy

Tue, Mar 26, 2024
By editor


VOICES of Resistance Against Fossil Gas Exports at the ongoing People’s Summit in Vienna Austria, has called for a shift towards renewable energy sources and sustainable practices to address the interconnected crises of climate change, environmental degredation and social injustice.

One of the critical voices in the person of Prince Israel Orekha, Executive Director, Connected Advocacy said this at the ongoing people’s summit in Vienna, Austria.

“This is an open call for solidarity , as we are raising more voices for a collective action, challenging polluters and their sponsors globally, to #StopIT the environmental genocide,” Orekha said.

Going down an historical excursion into the discovery of oil in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria, Orekha said that in 1956, a small community, Oloibiri in Ogbia LGA Bayelsa state, was discovered to house oil.

It is located at the Eastern part of the Niger Delta region.

He said that in 1958, the British colonial rulers licensed Shell oil to drill and explore oil with the permission to go into farmlands, rivers and creeks.

He argued that Niger Delta is the world’s most polluted environment with fossil gas exploitation, with high numbers of biodiversity loss due to oil and gas extraction, leaving behind a stranded community, health hazards leading to respiratory tract infections, mental health, and other pressing public health concerns which may have contributed to pregnancy related complications.

According to him, It is worth noting that our traditional cultural practice, have also been greatly affected, cultural norms, practices and knowledge have been made useless because an optimum environment that allows for the utilization of indigenous knowledge has been ruined.

Orekha identified key challenges militating against environmental sustainability, especially in some of the projects that are near completion.

The Nigeria -Morrocco Gas Pipeline Deal,

He said that more voices were needed to educate communities who are going to bear the brunt, farmlands, and other biodiversity loss, during and after the completion of this project with it’s attendant hardship.

“It is estimated that communities in over 12 countries in West Africa will be affected, approximately 5,600 kms from Nigeria, Niger Delta to Northern Morocco, through Spain.

“This project was signed since 2017, to produce 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year (equivalent of 3.0 billion standard cubic feet of gas per day).

“The project is currently at the final stage of implementation, ” Orekha said.

He said that another key challenge is IOCs Divestment plan from the Nigeria Niger Delta community to deep waters without remediation and compensations.

He stressed that the framework for divestment recently released does not capture community concerns.

He added that such arrangement could lead to the problem of stranded asset, stranded personnel and stranded community.

Orekha said that for host communities to position themselves to voice out against environmental injustice and degredation, the capacity of the local advocates needs to be built.

He identified knowledge gaps, low awareness, inadequate skill sets, striking civic space, stuff resistance from IOCs and their benefactors and weak and unreliable government policies as factors hindering effective campaigns for environmental justice.

The climate activists noted that to build a formidable team that would be the voices of grassroots campaigners, the following should be put into consideration:-

“Building partnership with activist at the grassroots

“Develop a co-creation initiative for movement building actions.

“Unification and Coordination of climate action voices

“Support Knowledge transfers for capacity development to strengthen grass-roots /local activist, because some of us are at the verge of giving up the struggle, due to lack of support.”

He said that it was regretable to note that ‘we are losing some of our young comrades to polluters, who now drive false solution initiatives to entice them.

26th March, 2024.