Environmentalists call for economic diversification to check climate change

    Ogoni land clean-up

    A coalition of environmental rights organisations on Tuesday called for diversification of the Nigerian economy from oil to reduce adverse effects of climate change.

    The coalition led by Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) and Nengi James Foundation made the call on Tuesday at an advocacy event to end Nigerian economic total dependence on oil.

    News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that representatives of oil communities in Bayelsa and environmentalists gathered at first oil well in Nigeria to emphasize fossil fuels role in climate change.

    Nigeria’s first oil well is located at Oloibiri in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa.

    Speaking at the event, Rev. Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director, HOMEF, noted that over dependence on oil has degraded the environment and is a key driver of global warming.

    According to him, fossil fuels, from exploration to production and usage, degrade the environment.

    “The state of Oloibiri oil well where oil was first struck in commercial quantities demands outcries for the Nigerian economy to be diversified.

    “We must break free from the bondage of fossil fuels.

    “Diversifying from oil will ensure that the Nigerian economy will work for Nigerians, it is time to move on from fossil fuels and look at other available renewable energy sources

    “Globally, fossil fuels extraction and use is the major driver of climate change, today our weather is unbearably hot.

    “Our waters are so polluted with crude oil that we cannot dive into it to cool our bodies. Some of our rivers even go up in flames,” Bassey said.

    Chief Nengi James, Executive Director of Nengi James Foundation noted that Oloibiri symbolised the neglect of oil bearing communities and unfulfilled promises spanning over 50 years.

    According to him, oil spills, gas flares and other negative effects of oil exploration were the challenges the oil communities were exposed to while the development of the people were ignored.

    Chief Adugu Dennis, a traditional ruler in Oloibiri, applauded the organisations for drawing attention to the community where oil was first struck in 1958.

    He said that several pledges made to develop the area were yet to be redeemed even as the communities still face the effects of degraded environment.

    Source: NAN