By Tina Amanda

Civil society organizations have called for the full implementation of Nigeria’s energy transition plan and an immediate halt to the issuance of coal mining licenses.

This demand was made during the annual conference of the Nigeria Coal Network, held in collaboration with DON’T GAS AFRICA, in Port Harcourt.

Speaking to our correspondent, Friday Nbani, Coordinator of the Nigeria Coal Network, emphasized the urgent need for Nigeria to transition to renewable energy. While highlighting the importance of this shift is to protect lives and the environment, particularly in the Niger Delta region, which suffers the most from oil and gas pollution.

Nbani explained that the government has failed to take action on the campaign to end gas flaring in Nigeria, noting the move towards it is only done on paper.

“We are uniting together to strengthen collaboration, efforts that are good for a better environment where we can end gas flaring and coal mining. Is not as if we hate development, we are looking at the implications of the two perspectives, gas flaring and coal mining which is inimical to health, and the environment.

“We are trying to see what alternative we can provide on the table for the Nigerian government to adopt for transition into renewable energy. Green energy is friendly to human health, the environment, and everyone.

“Nigerian government needs to invest into renewable energy, it’s working and friendly. Several times we have heard that hearing Nigerian government is going to end gas flaring but it remains on paper.

“We want it to be a real commitment, let the full force be there to end gas flaring. The common man does not have what it takes to stop it. Government should also stop issuing coal mining licenses”.

Campaign Lead, ‘DON’T GAS AFRICA’ who is also a South African-based environmental activist, Dean Bhekumuzi Bhebhe, said Africa is blessed with essential ingredients to become renewable energy giants.

“We are trying to break free from energy apartheid neo-colonial structure. We are using this campaign to try and find We are using this campaign to try and find a better future where there is energy that is people-centered, for the people, and by the people.

“There have been a few improvements last year 2023, African countries are committing to renewable energy especially countries like Kenya, Namibia Rwanda, and Ethiopia.

“Nigerians need to come up with people’s declaration, a declaration that will commence on the energy transition plan, push back on gas investment that has been launched.

“Africa has a fundamental and essential resource, minerals so such as aluminum, copper, manganese, etc. essential ingredients for us to become a renewable energy giant within the emerging energy system. The big problem we have is that we do not have the right financing we need in order to fight for a renewed energy project.

“I believe we will find our power to actually fund the transition that Africa truly deserves.”

Bhebhe further urged Nigerians to start thinking about climate emergency, energy, and development.

“How do we tackle climate emergency in a way that is sustainable, social economic growth across the African continent? imagine how much we will be saving if we transition to an energy system that is sustainable and clean

Presenting her keynote paper titled: “Energy Transition Plan” Dr. Grace Alawa, Lecturer at Rivers State University and also the founder of Sustainable Actions for Nature, said Nigeria is not ready for an energy transition plan, stressing that Nigeria as a nation is in zero emission.

“In the real sense what are we transiting from because the whole idea of transition is to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. Like I said I do not think we are emitting so much.

“I Think we are actually emitting from zero to something new that is just my own stand on the renewable. The Nigerian government should consult all the relevant stakeholders the private and public sectors, civil society organizations, communities, and grassroots.

“There should be a round table discussion on what we intend to do when it comes to energy transition”.

The meeting had in attendance different civil society organizations from Kenya, South Africa, and some states in Nigeria such as Benue, Kogi, Plateau, Imo, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Edo, Abuja (FCTa)

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