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Prepare for imminent transition from fossil fuel age – Expert warns Nigeria

An environmental expert, Nnimmo Bassey has warned Nigeria not to be caught unawares in the transition from the fossil fuel age which he desc...


An environmental expert, Nnimmo Bassey has warned Nigeria not to be caught unawares in the transition from the fossil fuel age which he described as ‘imminent.’


He added that the plan must include setting aside resources to clean up the entire Niger Delta, as well as other coastline communities.


Bassey stated this on Wednesday at a School of Ecology, SoE, on Blue Economy, Divestment and the End of Fossil Age in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital.


Speaking on the topic, “Ending the fossil age: overturning the myths and false solutions,” the environmentalist debunked the illusion that Nigeria will come to an end if fossil fuel dries up.


He reassured that with adequate preparations, Nigeria will survive after oil, even as he recalled that during the stone age, the country did not die because it ran out of stone.


Bassey, who is also the founder, Home of Mother Earth Foundation, HoMEF, said whether Nigeria likes it or not, the fossil fuel age is almost coming to an end, urging the government to wake up to the realities and come up with effective and lasting climate change mitigation.


According to him, “we are doing this against the backdrop of the projections that the fossil fuel age is running to an end whether we are ready or not and whether we like it or not.


“The meaning of the end of the fossil fuel civilization is that Nigeria must assiduously prepare for the imminent transition. That plan must include a setting aside of resources to clean up the entire Niger Delta, as well as other coastline communities.


“Without a plan, and a redefinition of development and progress, we may end up in a cemetery of junk technologies and bequeath to our children stranded assets in equally stranded communities.”


On the plans to move to a ‘blue economy’, Bassey urged the federal government to ensure that approaches that would enhance the well-being of the people, protect their water bodies, as well as defend the integrity of the ecosystem, are upheld in the process.


He warned that a mindless implementation of a Blue Economy may birth sea grab beyond the coastal land grab and make ocean-dependent communities suffer.


The expert also expressed worry that as most multinational oil companies divest and move into deep waters after 64 years of onshore oil and gas exploitation, their activities if not monitored, would drastically pollute the waters and the pollution will also get to citizens through sea foods and the delivery of pollutants by the waves to the shorelines.


His words, “This grim reality calls for the strict protection of our waters by checking the industrial activities onshore and offshore. With some international oil companies divesting and moving into deep waters after 64 years of ruinous onshore exploitation of oil and gas, it does not require a seer to see that their activities away from the watchful eyes of community eco-defenders will be atrocious.


“Sadly, the pollution will get to citizens through sea foods and the delivery of pollutants by the waves to the shorelines. More reason to worry is the fact that economic activities envisioned within the blue economy prism include seabed extractive activities, including the extraction of oil, gas, and other minerals.


“Other activities include marine biotechnology and bioprospecting, which will pose particularly difficult regulatory oversight, seeing that basic modern agricultural biotechnology is poorly regulated in our nation.”

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