The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has urged the federal government to better promote renewable energy models that will encourage industries in Nigeria to adopt environment- friendly and sustainable mediums that will benefit the health and livelihoods of Nigerians.
ERA/FoEN stated this at a one-day renewable energy conference which was held in Abuja.
The group specified that the government had largely played lip service to environmental concerns, revealing that oil and solid mineral exploration and exploitation continue to degrade the environment in local communities in the Niger Delta in spite of several deadlines and a subsisting court order outlawing gas flaring.
In a statement issued by the group, “Nigeria’s energy policies are deficient, lack community perspectives and the political will to follow through the implementation of some good policies are lacking. The result of this lacuna is the high tariffs that have largely unleashed poverty in local communities who can hardly afford the cost.”
ERA/FoEN, however, charged the government to establish appropriate institutional infrastructure and frameworks to support expanding energy supply and harmonise sustainable energy policies so that they may be integrated at all levels.
The group further urged the media to deepen understanding of energy issues as well as the struggles against environmental and climate injustices.
The event, funded by Friends of the Earth Norway, brought together civil society, development groups, government officials and community-based groups who shared experiences and analysed issues concerning energy policy in Nigeria, the environmental and social impacts of extractive processes and proffered solutions and energy models to address energy deficit.
Participants at the event also addressed peoples’ right to a new energy model in Nigeria, noting that since energy remains critical for development, individuals and civil society groups must amplify calls for a halt to the fossil fuel economy and a change to clean alternatives such as solar, the wind and mini-hydro projects, among others.