EXCLUSION2INCLUSION

Nigeria’s Oil-rich Communities Perspective On Just Energy Transition Plan

By Jecinta Mbamara

Under the auspices of the Extractive Industry and Climate Change Governance Project with support from the Ghana-based Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP), Spaces for Change|S4C in Imo State is implementing the JET radio program as part of a project titled “From Exclusion to Inclusion in National Just Transition Plans.”

The third episode of S4C JET radio program, critically examined the perspectives of women in oil-rich communities on the impact of oil extraction in their communities in Ohaji/Egbema LGA, Imo state, as Nigeria plans the transition to renewable energy sources.

Speaking on Ozisa FM radio in Owerri, Anyanwu Chioma Joy Esq, a lawyer and former state secretary of the Imo State Market Development Board, as well as a legal adviser for the PDP in Ohoba Ohaji/Egbema LGA of Imo State, and Mrs. Ekezie Glory, a native of the Ilile Autonomous Community in the same LGA, discussed their views on how oil companies operating in the area has been unfair to the people. They spoke about the violation of their human rights, their rights to necessary information about the company’s operating license and rights to social amenities etc.

The subject was designed with the goal of hearing local voices from the host communities’ perspectives on the benefits and pains of oil extraction, and their readiness to embrace the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy.

Wondering if oil was a curse rather than a blessing in the communities of Ohaji/Egbema, in view of the environmental damage, polluted water and air, lost economic trees and aquatic life, occasioned by oil extraction, the speakers urged the companies to be more conscious and respectful of their human rights, while also asking the companies to stop using divide-and-rule strategy.

They also called on the state government to ensure that oil companies adhere to their commitments, which include the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU) to the community, and are held accountable for planning implementations.

The resource persons further stated that the host communities would welcome the green economy as it is free of hazards and will create jobs for youths and women. They however, underscored the need for Imo State government to ensure the inclusion of the voices of women and youths in the energy transition plan.

 

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