The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) yesterday presented its policy brief, “Life Beyond Oil,” a research paper highlighting disadvantages of over dependence on fossil fuel for national development while encouraging a national renewable energy policy.
Addressing participants and stakeholders drawn from the community level, civil society, youth and women groups and members of the media during its strictly interactive policy brief with the theme, “Towards a post petroleum economy for Nigeria; Cost benefit analysis of oil and gas and the prospects of energy transition in Nigeria,” Executive Director, ERA/FoEN and Political Ecologist, Mr. Godwin Uyi Ojo exposed on health hazards of hydrocarbons and loss of creative economic capacity due to the over dependence on fossil fuel for national development.
Pointing at negative economic cost indicators and detailing the fall in oil price leading to declining revenue generation, Ojo stated that this setback has led to the trimming down of workforce in the oil and gas sector with the high cost for use of the power grid. He revealed that developed countries grew their economies through creating green jobs with focus on the use of cleaner technologies which harness solar and wind energy forms in the renewable energy sector.
He maintained, “The reason that Nigeria is the poverty capital of the world is because it is very poor on energy. If we solve the energy problem in Nigeria by allowing people to have access to renewable energy in ways they can power their small and medium enterprises, the poverty would be reduced through creating of green jobs for youths who would have no use to depend on white collar jobs thus become employers of labour. It is feasible. It is not about the money you have in your pocket but what you need energy for. We launched this report today believing that policy makers would take advantage of it to help reduce energy poverty in Nigeria.”
Cross fertilizing ideas with panelists, Yahaya Ahmed of Developmental Association for Renewable Energies stated that Nigeria lost roughly one hundred and eighty (180) billion naira yearly due to crude methods of post oil agricultural production. He emphasized that the use of renewable energy for agricultural production would boost the economy, power production and agriculture in the long run.
Other panelists such as Habiba Ali, Austin Osakue, Jennifer Edo, Chief Emma Pii, Nurudeen Ogbara and Adesuwa Hang all gave their perspective on the position paper on energy.