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Increase Investment On Renewable Energy, Group Urges FG 

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Stakeholders on Environment, on Friday urged the Federal Government to increase investments in new technology to advance just transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

The Stakeholders made the call at a two-day workshop organised by the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, (ANEEJ) on climate crisis and energy transition held on Feb,16 and 17 in Port Harcourt.

Mr David Ugolor,the Executive Director of ANEEJ,said that the workshop was designed to enhance the knowledge of participants on emerging issues in the global climate change trend and energy transition.

Ugolor represented by Mr Nowinta Igbotako, a Board member of ANEEJ, said that participants were drawn from civil society organisations, journalists,and representatives from the host communities in the Niger Delta.

Some of the issues discussed at the workshop included reflections on the impact of fossil fuel extraction, and the operations of oil companies on the people’s livelihood and the environment in the Niger Delta.

Others are Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan, key concepts in the climate change debate, highlight of the Paris Agreement and COP27, building movement around climate justice issues, global fossil fuel investors network, their role and the bench marking initiative.

In her presentation,Lorraine Chiponda, one of the facilitators from African Climate Movement Space, Zimbabwe, while speaking on the topic, ”Building Movement around climate justice issues”, urged African countries to do away with borrowed narratives.

Chiponda, who also spoke on the just concluded “Conference of Parties”(COPs27) in Egypt, said that Civil society organisations (CSOs)should ask critical questions like where the huge fund for the loss and damaged facilities came from.

She said Africans needed to be demanding because there are critical moment where they have the facilities but need countries to demand for these facilities.

“Creating these facilities means that a lot of fund should be provided for the Civil society organisations to ensure that the mandates are achieved.

“Global stock take should be looking at the various exchange that have been taken so far by countries that will be asked to be collecting and addressing the climate crisis.

“We should be accessing where we are now because this is important to know, we need to be following up key moments to ensure that when decisions are made African leaders will know the people opinion and what they are demanding from them,”she stated.

Chiponda said African countries needed to take charge and clear up spaces with their own development narratives.

She urged African leaders to refuse solutions that were mapped out through the western solutions saying that such might not match or solve African problems.

Similarly, Mr.Alex Wilk, a Consultant Sunrise Project, United Kingdom(UK) who is also one of the donors, urged CSOs to hold investors and share holders accountable by speaking out on effects of global fossil fuel activities on the host communities.

Wilk commended the 40 different groups of CSOs on their efforts to speak out on the impact of the activities of the multinational oil companies on their host communities.

Wilk urged Africans to refuse any form of inducement that could make them loose values in place of inducement.

He advised that CSOs in Europe and Africa, especially Nigeria, should continue to lend their voices to rebalance the historical equity which had been in discussion.

The Participants in their discussions observed that oil and gas exploration activities in the Niger Delta region had continued to impact negatively on the people of the region.

They said that the people were faced with gasflaring, oil spillage, environmental degradation and pollution or contamination of the land, water and air, loss of livelihood, health challenges and other negative effects.

They listed oil theft and bunkering activities as one of the contributing factors to environmental problems being experienced in the Niger Delta region.

They said that some communities were affected by the impact of environmental pollution in Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa-Ibom, Imo, Delta among others.

Participants also reviewed the role of investors in oil and gas companies especially the announcement by the church of England’s Pension’s board that by July 2023,the church will withdraw investment from companies that were not Paris aligned.

Some of the recommendations made by the participants were: implementation of localised Nigeria’s Transition Strategy to ensure that states are involved in developing and implementing their own plans.

They stated that Government, private sector,and multinational companies should mainstream renewable energy into local governance and scalingup capacity building in green job opportunity.

They said thst the root causes of environmental pollution should be addressed.

They urged contractors working close with the host communities, involve host communities in hiring of contractors to secure pipelines, joining African Movement Space to amplify the plight of host communities among others.

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