Sunday, June 16, 2019

Group wants IOCs to intensify search for renewable energy

A non-governmental organisation, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), has urged International Oil Companies (OOCs) operating in Nigeria to intensify search for renewable energy and non-fossil fuels.

Mr Alagoa Morris, Head of Field Operations, ERA/FoEN, made the call in an interview with the media in Yenagoa on Monday.

He noted that advanced countries had shifted focus to cleaner alternatives to crude oil energy due to concerns about the environment.

The activist said that the nation’s energy mix should be diversified and less emphasis put on oil and gas prospecting due to its adverse effects on the ecosystem.

Morris decried seismic activities by oil firms in residential areas in Yenagoa.

He said that the sound of explosives during oil exploration on residential areas caused fear on the residents.

Morris said that seismic cables traversed residential houses and often disrupted the occupants’ social and economic activities.

According to him, some affected residents were silent because they thought that the Land Use Decree allowed the seismic operation.

“Incidentally, some express optimism that once crude oil/gas is found on their lands, it will bring to them unimaginable fortune.

“ERA/ FoEN observed that seismic cables were laid on  doorsteps of residents, around and entrances to homes, shops/business environment, roadsides and even in the middle of roads/streets in Yenagoa.

“It is unimaginable that while the world is progressively shifting away from fossil energy, embracing and developing renewable energy, the Federal Government and Shell are still going about crude oil/gas exploration.

According to him, searching for oil in residential areas is ill-advised at a time other nations are developing alternatives to crude oil.

He said that focus should be on developing environmentally-friendly alternative energy sources.

“Government should protect the rights of Nigerians to live and go about their businesses in an environment conducive for their development and wellbeing in line with Article 24 of African Charter on Human and People’s Right.

“The environment needs protection and defence from government. Residents shouldn’t remain silent; they should express themselves freely because the environment is our life.

“Experience has shown that an environment damaged by crude oil-induced pollution has never been properly attended to by our government and the oil companies.

“The federal and state governments should ensure that regulations regarding Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) precedes any such exercise, including Social Impact Assessment,” ERA/FoEN said.

When contacted, Mr Joseph Obari, Spokesman for Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) declined to comment on the seismic activities within the oil firm’s operational areas in Yenagoa.