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HOMEF Trains Communities On Environmental Surveillance

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The Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) has concluded training for over 80 members of oil producing communities in Delta and Bayelsa States, on environmental monitoring and advocacy.
The benefiting communities, Iwherekan in Delta State and Gbarain/Ekpetiama in Bayelsa State, have similar environmental challenges, especially those related to gas flaring, as there has been reported incidents of respiratory diseases and increase of cardiac cases in these communities.
Speaking to the volunteers, Executive Director of HOMEF, Dr Nnimmo Bassey, charged community members who reside near oil and gas fields to remain vigilant and observant to protect the environment and ensure that the economic interests of investors do not threaten the environment.
Bassey stated that there was a need to raise volunteers who will defend the ecosystem from degradation and pollution, noting that a safe environment was fundamental to support life and livelihood.
He said Iwherekan and Gbarain gas fields constitute the dominant gas flare sites in the Niger Delta and hence, residents from the areas require capacity building on environmental management, advising them to develop their skills to ‘listen to the environment’ as it responds and speaks by responding to human activities that distort the ecosystem.
“Oil and gas exploitation has exposed communities in Nigeria to decades of unabated pollution, giving rise to health challenges, livelihood stress, and a general denial of a good life and wellbeing of the community people.
“Gas flaring has been a major source of environmental damage and habitat loss in the Niger Delta region and has adversely affected local people that depend on fishing and farming as major sources of their livelihood.
“Over the years, HOMEF has facilitated dialogue in communities affected by oil and gas exploitation activities and has rallied support for the communities to speak up against the polluting activities of corporations and seek justice”, the HOMEF boss stated.
Speaking to participants, an environmental rights advocate, Mr Alagoa Morris, said monitoring the environment demands factual and evidence-based data collection, recording and reporting.
“In journalism, the media professionals say that facts are sacred, and that is even much more applicable and I will say that in advocating for environmental justice, facts are more sacred.
“I say so because there is no room for false and misleading information because all facts must be validated at various stages including litigation and even exaggeration is strongly discouraged. Environmental monitoring is evidence based and empirical, and it makes the information stand the test of time,” Morris said.
Also, a Civil Society Activist and Executive Director of We The People, Mr Ken Henshaw, who examined the imperatives of the divestment by oil firms from onshore assets and the Petroleum Industry Act, urged communities to brace up for challenges in the new era.
Henshaw noted that the new law which recommends a 3percent operational budget as host community funds left the constitution of the governance structures largely in the hands of oil firms. He observed that the PIA is silent on existing corporate social obligation operated by oil firms.
Similarly, the Project Lead, Fossil Politics and Climate Change at HOMEF, Mr Cadmus Alake-Enade, took the participants through the steps and procedures in environmental monitoring and reporting.
The interactive segment of the training had the volunteers from the two states share experiences and adverse impacts of oil and gas exploration on their environments.
A participant from Ekpetiama community, Mr Peredangikumo Ogiriki, lamented that before oil and gasoperations began in his community, they had enjoyed peace and unity.

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Oil & Energy

Ex-Lawmaker Volunteers For Petroleum Sector Deregulation 

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An ex-lawmaker, Sen. Ben Murray Bruce, has announced that he is willing to serve as a volunteer in deregulating the country’s petroleum sector.
This follows the ex-lawmaker’s faulting of Nigeria losing over N5trilion annually as a result of fuel subsidy.
Bruce, who represented Bayelsa East Senatorial District in the 8th Senate, on his verified Twitter handle, decried what he described as ignorance and ineptitude of government agencies responsible for fuel subsidy.
“We cannot keep losing five trillion naira annually. I am able and willing, and I volunteer myself to lead the team to deregulate our petroleum sector.
“I will execute this flawlessly such that no Nigerian will be on the street protesting.
“The ineptitude and ignorance of the government agencies responsible for this are mind-boggling,” Bruce tweeted.

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Oil & Energy

Stakeholders Urge FG To Shift From Fossil Fuel

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Stakeholders in the extractive industry have said that as a fossil fuel dependent country, Nigeria must develop its own strategy to engage in shifting global focus away from oil.
This was the conversation at a recent one day capacity building workshop for media and Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria, organised by the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development, through its Natural Resource and Extractive Programme, in partnership with Natural Resource Governance Institute.
The hybrid workshop, themed, “Oil Dependency in Nigeria: Imagining a Future Beyond Oil”, had over 50 participants, including journalists from the extractive sector, CSOs, and social media influencers in attendance.
The workshop, according to the organisers, was geared towards improving the understanding of oil dependency and the nexus with energy transition to better communicate the impact on Nigeria and the Nigerian economy.
Senior Officer, NRGI, Ms. Tengi George-Ikoli, explained that Nigeria was at a critical point in its development, hence as a fossil fuel-dependent country, it is important that Nigeria develops its own strategy to engage the shifting global focus away from oil.
“Nigeria must develop its own medium to long term strategy to mitigate the likely export and government revenue losses from a shrinking market base as these countries look to reducing oil reliance beyond 2030.
“Nigeria must make strategic decisions in the way it spends its limited revenues, take economic diversification more seriously, leveraging regional and global opportunities beyond oil, and including new frontier possibilities available in the green economy”, she said.
Also, Deputy Director, Development Practice, CJID, Mr. Akintunde Babatunde, said as energy transition persists globally, Nigeria as a monolithic fossil fuel dependent economy has to prepare for what the shift to cleaner energy sources means for its economy.
“Data is pointing us to the fact that Nigeria will likely lose a majority of its foreign exchange earnings and revenues for both the federal and subnational government.
“In fact, it is already happening, because Nigeria is at a critical point in its development process, it is important for professionals to discuss the way forward on how the decisions we make as a country are more important now than ever”, he said.
Earlier, the Acting Executive Director at CJID, Tobi Oluwatola, harped on the need for capacity building for the media and CSOs, noting that they are in the best position to enlighten the public from an informed perspective.
“It is time for Civil Society Organisations, journalists, and policy experts to have this discussion, most especially as Nigeria plans to achieve net zero by 2060. There is a need for CSOs to be empowered with the right skills to be able to do the right advocacy and accountability work in Nigeria”, he stated.

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Oil & Energy

Nigeria To Construct Gas Pipeline To Europe Through Morocco

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Nigeria has given the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPC) the greenlight to implement a deal on construction of a gas pipeline to Europe through Morocco.
This follows reports of surging demand for African energy supplies from the EU that is seeking to wean itself of dependence on Russian oil and gas.
“This gas pipeline is to take gas to 15 West African countries and to Europe and through Morocco to Spain and others,” said the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva.
“It is only after the engineering design of the pipeline has been made that we will know exactly (what) the cost of the pipeline will be. When that time comes, we will be talking about funding,” he added.
Nigeria is a member of the Opec group of major oil producers and has huge gas reserves – the largest proven reserves in Africa and the seventh largest globally.
On May 30, Tanzania transported 60,000 tonnes of coal to the Netherlands.
Last month, Botswana’s President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, said European nations had “flooded” his country with requests to supply coal.

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