ERA: Women urge FG to transit to renewable energy for Nigeria’s survival

Lolo Hait-Sham (2nd R) presenting a communique during the meeting on Just Energy Transition, held in Port Harcourt

From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt

A coalition of women leaders across the country, has urged the federal government to ensure the transition of fossil fuels to renewable energy for the lifespan of the country.

The women also call on President Muhammadu Buhari to personally lead the process of just energy transition to ensure the survival of Nigeria as an entity and environmental justice, urging that the government should align with other developing and developed countries of the world to implement the call for cleaner energy.

The call was made on Tuesday, during a meeting convened by Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria in collaboration with women groups under the auspices of the Just Energy Transition coalition to X-ray Nigeria’s just transition framework and how it impacts on the women.

According to the group led by Madam Lolo Hait-Sham, said “the transition of the global economic and development system away from fossil fuels is already underway. Across the globe, government’s are developing ‘clean growth’ strategies to recover, rebuild and re-energise their economies after the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic and the intensifying impacts of the climate crisis”.

The group calls for the federal government support on the use of renewable energy by supporting the transformation of the energy systems from the local government level. Provide tax and financial incentives to enable long term acquisition plans for renewable energy.

According to the woman “We must indeed mend our roof while the sun is still shinning. There can be no communities, no life, and no jobs on a dead planet. The impacts of climate change are real and lasting”.

They stressed that a transition based on justice especially for women will not happen by itself. “It requires clear, transparent, and inclusive plans and policies that will reduce fears and concerns and opposition from those who will be negatively impacted. Women still do not have access to energy for lighting cooking, heating and business.

“The President needs to put in motion the process for policy realignment among the four key development policies- vision 20 20 20, the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (ERGP), Nigeria’s Economic Sustainability Plan 2020 – a road map to post Covid-19 recovery. These plans need to be reviewed to encourage high, inclusive growth and low carbon emission”.

To encourage a gender just transition, the group further call on government to establish a gender equity quota for the renewable energy sector.

Earlier, in his opening speech, Barr Michael Karikpor, Programme Manager, ERA/FoEN, explained that Just Energy Transition of Nigeria, groups and women leaders across Nigeria, especially from the Niger Delta gathered together in the meeting to fashion a way increase awareness and advocacy for Nigeria to transit from fossil fuels as the main stay of the economy giving the reality of the currency situation where the world itself is moving away from the fossil fuel.

He added that the aim of the meeting was “To build a coalition of people, men and women advocating for Nigeria to start moving towards a more sustainable economy that incorporate everybody, economy that takes the issues of women and gender on board as the world moves away from fossil fuels”.

An environment expert, Dr Sam Kabari, in his presentation titled “The Role of women in Just Energy Transition”, noted that the idea to move to a fair energy that will be favourable to the environment and social life of the people, will reduce the level of carbon emissions in the environment.

To achieve the sustainable just energy transition, Dr Kabari said “There need to be a deliberate plan in the movement from fossil to renewable to save the country’s economy”, he added that there will be improved health status and clean energy if there is just energy transition.

Giving more reasons for the transition, Dr Kabari stressed that it will tackle the problems of ‘toxic racism, environmental discrimination, environmental justice, socio-economic and environmental impacts of fossil fuels, sustainable development, global warming and climate change’.

He urged the women as a powerful force, to drive the just energy transition struggle to a success, adding that “the earlier we shift from fossil fuels the best for Nigeria”.

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