Executive Director, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Dr. Godwin Uyi Ojo, has stated that “a post petroleum economy is long overdue for Nigeria.”
He made the statement on the occasion of the third edition of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Youth Environmental Camp Meeting 2020, held in Benin City.
Harping on the theme of the camp meeting, from extraction to education, Dr. Ojo urged the government “to take more ambitious steps toward moving from fossil fuel such as oil, gas, and coal to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and mini hydros.”
Going forward, he charged: “The government of President Muhammadu Buhari should embrace the agenda to leave the oil in the soil, make a commitment and set an agenda towards end to fossil fuel dependence by divesting investments from oil and gas to research and development of the emerging renewable energy sector.”
Talking about the youths who are from four states of the Niger Delta – Edo, Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers – Ojo said: “The youth challenge is that much is expected of them but they deliver on very little. However, they hardly get the space to organise and express themselves.
“Further, the youths are mostly impacted by environmental degradation especially those from fence line communities where extractive activities are frequent. The youths also suffer from loss of livelihoods, poverty, disorientation and fear of a bleak future.”
He disclosed that the programme, from extraction to education, is specially designed to reach out to over 10,000 youths across a four year period from the four states.
Ojo charged the youths “to stand in the gap and see the climate change phenomenon as an opportunity to address a national and global problem.”
Ahmed Bolaji Nagode, the Director General of National Power Training Institute of Nigeria(NAPTIN) said: “The future of energy not only in Nigeria, Africa and the whole world is renewable energy. And Nigeria as a country has keyed into this because we have a vision of having 30 percent of our energy mix to be in the area of renewable energy – solar, wind and other forms of renewable energy.
“There is no doubt to the fact that the youths have a lot at stake and you can key into this in order to help us to develop this particular sector.”
In his own submission, Anthony Azubuike, Clerk of the Senate Committee on Ecology, said: “I want to appreciate the work that ERA is doing particularly for organising a forum like this to recognise our future because our future lie in your(youths) hands bringing the youths together to teach them and to transfer knowledge. I think it is very important in the development of our nation.”