Oilwatch demand zero oil exploration in Niger Delta

From Douglas Blessing, Port Harcourt

An International group, Oilwatch has demanded for zero oil exploration in the Niger Delta region.

The group insisted that exploration and exlpoitation of oil in the region has caused more harm to the region than development.

Speaking at the Oilwatch Global Gathering in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, a member of international steering committee of Oilwatvh, Dr Nnimmo Bassey, explained that oil exploration has never done the region any good than degradation of the environment.

Bassey who is also the Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), stated that since the past 60years of oil exploration in Nigeria, the country remains impoverished. 

Bassey, however, noted that net-zero carbon emissions are like a subversion of nature, arguing that the world needs to stop using fossil fuels. 

He ascribed the incessant rainfall and flooding in the region to one of the effects of climate change, while demanding zero oil exploration in the region.

“Government and cooperations are talking about achieving net-zero carbon emissions which means; keep emitting the carbon, then you find ways to either capturing the carbon and buring it somewhere or plant some trees which will absorb the carbon that is what net zero means. 

“This is as if people are trying to solve global warming by mathematics. But nature does not work that way. 

“The world and Nigeria need to stop the use of fossil fuels. And in fact, nobody or country should go on looking for new oil, gas, or fuel reserves. 

“Scientists have told us that we can not afford to burn all the known reserves of fossil fuel right now if not the world is going to have a temperature that human beings can survive on. 

“The real solution is not net-zero, but not continuing to burn fossil fuel. That is the solution and we have been saying this for many years. Leave the oil in the ground if we are going to have the possibility of surviving as humans in the world.”

“We are going to have more floods, more desertification, higher temperatures, and water stress and we are going to lose land because, in Niger Delta, the land is already being lost up to one metre or two metres every year on the coastal lane. And many states are also losing lands to desertification, so it is more crises unless something real is being done. 

“The Niger Delta presents a platform for job creation if the government decides to clean up the entire Niger Delta it will create employment for all the youths in this country to do the cleanup and that could even boost the economy. And then we will have a clean environment to farm on and to fish in and to be healthy. A healthy population is a healthy economy.”

” It really makes sense to stop depending on the energy source that is destroying the world and move to a system that will preserve lives”.

On his part, Kentebe Ebiaridor, the international coordinator of oilwatch, stressed that while governments of the world engage in climate change discussions at the upcoming conference of parties (cop26) in Glasgow scotland, the discussions should be geared towards ensuring zero emissions from fossil extraction and a total shift to renewable sources of energy. 

He noted that “communities can not continue to bear the pain of devastating impacts of extraction due to them owning hosting natural resources while the corporations and governments continue with falsehood of net zero”. 

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