A civic environmental group says its time to zero-in on the challenge of renewable energy
Nov.2 (PREMIUM TIMES) — A strong plea has gone to the Jonathan administration to act promptly and decisively in formulating a renewable energy strategy for the country that will shift focus from the current over-dependence on fossil fuel.
This plea came from the civic group, Green Deal Nigeria, at its just concluded conference at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Center in Abuja where the point was also made that while public officials owe it to Nigerians to met-out their responsibilities without fear or favour, the higher burden is on citizens who were enjoined to seat up and hold government officials accountable for their actions and inactions.
Green Deal Nigeria defined its challenge as helping to propel a consciousness towards averting the disaster that awaits Nigeria when her crude oil reserve dries up.
The organization said the fears of oil drying up is as real as the records go, stressing that the most optimistic reading of the nation’s proven reserve puts the records between 2027 and 2052.
The future portends a dismal picture, the group said, for a country that depends mainly on proceeds from the oil sector for its economic growth.
“Why do we wait for disaster to knock before we react, and not act now? What defense do we have for where the energy sector in Nigeria is today?” the group queried, blaming the failure to address cogent environment crises like desert encroachment in Taraba State and Yobe State, as well as erosion in Anambra State which has destroyed lives, farm land and property, on the apparent deficit in governance.
The way out of the predicament, says the group, is the application of a cocktail of issues: a vigorous fight against corruption to address the quality of governance; a honest and transparent evidence of political will at the leadership level; and the application of science and technology to the development of renewable energy sources.
A speaker at the conference, Mercy Abang, drove the point home by decrying what she called the alarming culture of waste and damage among citizens and the government in our country.
Ms. Abang observed that “every time you have to eat, trees have to be chopped down” and asked in a biting irony if indeed “we really need the government in the country” because, according to her, this was the question on the lips of most Nigerians, based on abject report card on policy development that has only “pain, poverty and political dissatisfaction.”
When citizens come together, however, and don’t wait on the government, she said, a lot of insight and development can be generated.
The Lagos bio-gas plant was cited as a model citizens’ initiative to address the power crisis in an environmentally sensible sense. The plant, at mile 12 market, Lagos, converts waste into gas that can power a generator producing 10kva of electricity.
Participants at the conference urged government to be pro-active and inclusive in its policy formulation and implementations, adding that notions in policy suggests that government only exist for the affluent, which should be challenged and addressed.
Government should be prepared and put measures in place to check social problems like epidemics resulting from the floods, social vices resulting from destruction of livelihoods and property according to participants. They also want urgent attention on starvation and deforestation caused by desert encroachment.
Green Deal Nigeria and its conference were being supported by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, a German foundation with strong concerns for a green future.