SCHOOL OF ECOLOGY (HEALTH OF MOTHER EARTH FOUNDATION) ORGANIZED A TWO-DAY WORKSHOP (26TH -27TH SEPTEMBER, 2022) ON “BLUE ECONOMY, DIVESTMENT AND THE END OF FOSSIL AGE” AT HAVILAH TOWERS GOLDEN SUITE HOTEL, UYO.
The training was moderated by Mfoniso Anita (HOMEF Team), followed by a warm welcome address by Nnimmo Bassey (Director, HOMEF). The Director of HOMEF emphasized that, the essence of this kind of training is to; “arm Africans with knowledge, so that Africa will not be a dumping ground”.
Before the shift for a “Blue Economy”, there has been emphasis on “Green Economy”, which in practice is more about placing nature in the marketplace. The idea however, was subverted. “Blue Economy”; idea looks at the Ocean as limitless. By 2050, we may have more plastics than fishes. Particularly, for those of us in the Niger Delta. The Ocean struggle is already around and pirates are on the Sea shores.
End Fossil Fuel: End War Ending the Fossil Age! By Nnimmo Bassey.
Distribution of Climate Impact. “The major driver of Climate Change is the burning of Fossil fuel”. Africa has contributed minimally to the distribution of Global warming, yet the most affected by the impact of Climate Change.
Today, Plantations are still meant for export. “Useful Africa”; it’s a territory of exploitation. Africa and a distorted rights to pollute. Ending the Oil age globally, yet digging for more fossils in Africa. Oil companies plan to sink $230billion in the next decade on new Oil and Gas projects and #1.4trillion by 2050.
“Progress that doesn’t speak with the people, will not be able to address the people”. Nnimmo Bassey. The rights to pollute or extract, is something we have to reject. At a time, when we are supposed to stop fossil fuel, the Oil industry is pumping more money. The sooner, the end of fossil fuel, the better.
Cut Emissions at Source, Climate Debt ignored, Climate Finance-Lip Service.
“If you don’t get the imagination right, you can’t get the money right”. France as a country, made a new law; you can’t get license to operate on fossil fuel.
Nature Based-Solutions. Supposed 2 trillion dollars for Climate Debt. Nature based solutions points towards fictional net-zero (nature absorbs carbon). It is a strategy to silent Africans. According to SHELL- defines “Nature based solutions as a project that protects Land”. The UNFCCC promotes negotiations between state parties and in an unfair and neo-colonial scenario, has transferred their responsibilities to the south. Carbon Market is “False Solutions”.
Simple Solution- “Leave the Oil in the Soil”. After Oil, we will flourish.
Ken Henshaw facilitated on “Examining Policy and Key Issues in Divestment in Nigeria”:
Since 2010, Multi-national Oil Companies have been selling off their On-Shores assets and moving further Off-shore.
Between 2010 and 2014, SHELL quietly sold off 8 Oil mining leases (OML) etc.
In February 2022, Exxon Mobil announced that it has reached an agreement to sell its equity interest etc.
Why are Companies really Divesting?
Clearly distraught by the ruling, SHELL’s CEO declared that “development like we are still seeing at the moment means that we have to take another hard look at our position in On-shore Oil in Nigeria. We cannot solve community problems in the Niger Delta, that’s for the Nigerian Government perhaps to solve”.
Gas Flaring: the environmental dangerous and resource wasteful phenomenon of Gas flaring has been in the Niger Delta for over 6 decades. Despite several flare out date instituted by Nigeria’s Federal Government since 1979.
A Crude Journey: British Colonialism awarded Oil exploration rights to SHELL D’Acry in 1938. The implementation of large extractive projects requires that the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous people is sought and received before-hand.
‘’The Oil companies wants to leave Nigeria, the same way they came’’.
What is Nigeria’s Divestment Policy? Unfortunately, there is no Policy on Divestment by Nigeria.
What outlook should the Divestment Policy have? a). It should be restorative and corrective of the legacy of extraction. b) It should recognize the historical injustice meted on the people of Oil producing areas and aim to correct them. c) It should recognize that the fossil Age has come to prepare for a transition. d) It should be driven by We The People and not the markets. e). It should adequately establish the link between Oil and Gas extraction and Climate Change impact. f). Strengthening Climate Change adaptation strategies for impacted communities, including in food security, and in migration and housing.
Olatunji Buhari, on “How to Make Corporations pay in the issue of Divestment”; he emphasized that, we need to set the agenda for Divestment and it is our responsibilities as CSO’s, Citizens and Communities impacted by fossil fuel to hold our Government accountable, so that they can hold the Multi-Nationals in regards to restoration bond.
Sofiri Peterside (Prof): Concerning the New NNPC Ltd, it will no longer contribute to the Federal Government on Single Treasury Account. NNPC changing from State owned, now being Commercialized. The change in name will not make any difference in operation. Corruption, ethnicity is so endemic in this Company, how can it then operate efficiently.
Tijah Bolton Akpan: He covers the topic of “Does Nigeria’s PIA Establish Frameworks for a just Transition? Examining the Threats and Faults lines.” The challenges of the PIA is the “Process” and the “Corruption in the Process”. The PIA 2021, a unique opportunity but a missed one. The PIA was unique opportunity to rethink the role of the Oil and Gas Industry in Nigeria. The PIA ultimately fails to account for Climate Change, the Energy transition etc. What is a just energy transition? Energy transitions are about people and power. A just transition requires tackling the challenges faced by Communities and workers as they shift towards sustainable livelihoods…etc. According to Tijah, the following Steps should be adopted; Diversifying away from Oil, Investing in Clean Energy sources, Improving governance, Redressing legacy harms and addressing equity issues.
GLOBAL CONTEXT: An inevitable transition; The Oil Industry currently stands as one of the worst performing sectors in the S & P 580 Index. There are some ethical investors that are beginning to change/stop investment in the Oil Industry.
NATIONAL CONTEXT: A Petroleum predicament, Oil is big business for the Nigerian state, Defunding of Fossil fuel projects combined with the net zero carbon targets, Nigeria sits on the largest export earnings of the Oil and Gas in Sub-Saharan Africa.
What has the PIA done right with regards to the transition? Removal of dual, incestuous powers from the NNPC and transform it to a Public Limited Company. Provide two new regulators NUPRC and NMPDPRA, each for a section of the industry. Provide for transparency of contracts, licenses or leases. Attempt to create a governing framework for Community beneficiation. The Host Community Development Trust and Fund. The PIA provides for 3% OPEX to be contributed to the Community. Recommendations: Review the PIA etc.
Stephen Oduware…‘’IOC’s Divestment Moves’’: The Trilemma faced by Communities; a) Climate Change b) Pollution c) Divestment Drive. The voices of the affected Communities is very essential. Steps to achieving it is through; Advocacy visit, Mapping alliances, community dialogue, target Multilateral spaces and protest where necessary.
Mr. Wale gave detailed insights on “Advocacy”: Advocacy helps us to challenge the way we have done things and thought about Socio-Political, Economic and Environmental issues. Advocacy is about working with people to support them in strengthening their voice. “To be an Activist is to Speak. To be an Advocate is to Listen”…Society can’t move forward without both. Focus on those things that will bring change, not the easy way. Build coalition, timing is key and identify the windows of opportunities and then leverage on it. Communicate: Advocacy is about listening to what people are not saying and what they are saying at the same time.
Oceans, Geo-Engineering and Climate Threats by Neth Dano (Action Group on Erosion, technology and Concentration): Climate Geo-Engineering is simply a set of technologies to intentionally intervene in and after Earth systems on a mega scale. Particularly to manipulate the Climate to counteract some of the effects of Climate change. Proposed Geo-Engineering techniques to intervene in Land, Ocean and Air. Climate change will still continue. Why oppose Science Experiments? Experiments may impact the real world, place, society, environment. Are rarely for “Science”- often hardware development. Geo-Engineering is under UN moratoria. In conclusion, there is no advantage to Geo-Engineering.
Counting the Ecological Costs of the Blue Economy by Nnimmo Bassey: Terms to note are as follows;
Dipti Bhatragar Friends of the Earth International: Why Do We Call T.T Climate Justice.
Climate crisis is inherited unjustly. Challenging the Oil and Gas TNCs is critical. Transnational Corporations New escape hatch-the deception of the Net Zero.
No TO Net Zero, The Big CON! Nature based solutions: Wolf in Sheep clothing. COP 27 is another opportunity to fight back against false solutions. We want the Energy transition to be just, fair and equitable. A just Recovery Renewable Energy Plan for Africa. Annual Investment of U.S $130 billion per year needed for this plan. Rich countries need to pay the climate debt. Political statement signed by 50 Organizations in Africa. Food and land solutions for system change. Economic justice solutions for system change. Change in the value system. Ubuntu- I am because, we are Africa.
Q & A: How do we balance Change and Energy need? We are calling for a just transition. Our African leaders, rich countries know about this development, decades ago, yet they have not done anything. So, we need to talk about the Energy Transition urgently and the transition ought to be just, fair and equitable. We need to build solidarity among each other to fight this Climate situation. We need to do this urgently, but we need to do it right.
Prof. Patrick Bond: “Unmasking the Blue Economy Concept in South Africa”.
Corruption between mega-ports of Nigeria and South Africa. Collaboration between Activists in Nigeria and South Africa. “We are losing the fight against Climate Change” …. The Status quo.
Anti-Extraction: Protest correlation. Extractivism’s ten shortcomings- do these apply to the Blue Economy? Community genuine free, prior and informed consent denied, amidst state/capital’s divisive bulldozing or co-optation. Local Ecology loss, degradation and pollution of land, air and water. Opposing offshore Oil and Gas drilling. Violating planetary boundaries (many in Oceans). Global Climate Risk Index.
Blue Economy deployed in Climate managerialism’s ‘’False Solutions’’. Price of natural gas volatile Russia, 2022. Blue Economy can help fight poverty and inequality. Multinational Corporate Profiteers. Rich countries must pay their Climate debt and other Climate damage to affected people. Judging UNFCCC progress by Climate justice criteria: 1. Cut greenhouse gases, adopt sufficiently ambitious and binding global greenhouse gas emission reduction requirements so as to keep temperatures below 1.5c, ensure the cuts are fairly distributed, not imposed. 2. Transition gracefully; ensure job-rich just transition from carbon=addicted economies for all affected workers and communities during carbonization …. 3. Redress social injustices; empower oppressed constituencies in racial-justice …. 4. Manage green technology as a global public good; allow dissemination of climate friendly technology and localized production technology. 5. Leave fossil in the ground. 6. Finance planetary and social survival; apply carbon taxation and pricing judiciously. Book by Prof. Patrick Bond: “Politics of Climate Justice”.
Desmond D’sa: “Connecting the Blue Economy”.
People Power: Organizing people. Oil and Gas companies should go parking, we don’t want them in our shorelines, exploring. We must have the rights to say NO to mining, to Oil and Gas and that should be our law. Collectively, we need to walk and talk on “Divestment”. We need ethical investors and end abuse to people’s conscience that are destroying our communities and the planet at large. Repatriation, Restoration and Remediation from the Oil and Gas companies, because of the emission and damages by them that have affected our people and communities. Education is key, we need to train our people and arm them with knowledge. We need to educate our people that whatever that is proposed by the multinationals are not an alternative. Education to the communities to know how to deal with the Multinationals/Big corporations. We don’t need their Oil money, its dirty money, that kills innocent people, we need better alternatives. Leave no one behind; there is a lot of commonalities among us, we should drop our differences and work together. To fight big corporation; let the communities document facts against the activities of the big corporation. Ensure that the voices of the people on ground is strong. Ensure the constitution are for the people, work together to use it as a tactics to beat big corporation. Have regular meetings with the people. We need to integrate these struggles to our struggles to fight the common enemy.
The Executive Director of HOMEF (Nnimmo Bassey); appreciates all the facilitators, participants for a power packed two-days engaging sessions on “Blue Economy”. Some of the takeaway; “In fighting together, we can fight better and stronger”. False Solutions on Blue Economy. “We are in for many generations of struggle for restoration to happen”. Solidarity; its love on the street, meeting together. When you say “No” to anything, say “No” to alternatives, even if its inconvenient
CLIMATE LEARDERSHIP FELLOWSHIP 2022 COHORT 2 (Motto: Galvanising Youth For Climate Action), this initiative is supported by Access Bank Plc, Glow Initiative For Economic Empowerment (GLEE) and Climate Smart Nigeria (CSN) and it has over 30 Climate Fellows selected in the Nigeria, that were involved in a 10-week Fellowship Programme, that started 30th May, 2022. In Rivers State, Smith Nwokocha (A Climate Leadership Fellow), after a virtual Expert training that lasted for weeks, and the Fellows are to teach secondary schools with an equipped toolkit; Smith championed the project (Adopt A School Project) for four weeks from 16th June to 14th July, 2022 across two schools (Government Comprehensive Secondary School and Woodville School, Port Harcourt).
In the first week, he started with a discussion on understanding what Climate Change is all about, the terminologies involved and the impact of Climate Change in Rivers State. In the following week, he discussed the need for Renewable Energy, the sources of Renewable Energy and the benefits of Solar Energy, then again, he talked about the Greenhouse Gases, Greenhouse Effect, the impact and importance, all in Week two. In week three, he focused on the 3R’s (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) and the benefits of reducing, reusing and recycling. At the final week, which is week four, he initiated the Green Club by adopting students as Green Ambassadors following the stated criteria in the curriculum by the Organizers and he coordinated a demonstration of Climate Campaign/rally within the school premises with a Climate Parachute.
It was a beautiful experience to behold. Engaging students, stimulating their interest and getting the schools becoming environmentally conscious. The Green Ambassadors have promised to plant trees, keep the school environment clean and initiate climate change related projects going forward under the supervision of Mr. Smith Nwokocha alongside the Head Teachers attached to the Green Ambassadors to ensure “The Adopt A School Project” becomes a reality and the schools to be part of it fully and make a continuous activity. Our reporter gathers that, at least over 50 students were part this project. However, it is worthy to note that, the Green Ambassadors will work together to find solutions for the emanating surge (the Black Soot) in Rivers State among other Climate Change issues.
Finally, similar and even more innovative approaches are been adopted by other fellows in Nigeria and beyond. The Climate Leadership Fellows and students alike are now better equipped in Climate matters. In appreciation, the Founder of this initiative, who is also the founder of Climate Smart Nigeria (CSN), Glory Oguegbu and her indefatigable team (Victoria Edeha-Anthony, Wilfred Okeke, Tola Oni, Emmanuel and others not mentioned), including GLEE and Access Bank, for working very hard to promote Climate Change Education in Nigeria through Climate Literacy Programme like this and in essence, provide capacity building on Renewable Energy Technologies.
Pro – Environmental Pressure Group, *ActionAgainstSootInTheNigerDelta* has taken her Advocacy to the Rivers State House Of Assembly.
Led by Mrs. Stephanie Ekpebulu Esq. and Mr. Benibo Daboye, they met with the State Assembly Committee Chairman on Environment, *Hon. Barr. Dumle Maol,* at his office in the Assembly Complex, Port Harcourt.
They stated the position of the *ActionAgainstSootInTheNigerDelta.* Speaking, Stephanie stressed that the Environment and Health risks now and the threat of the future can not be overstated, pointing out that the SOOT is a harm to all.
She noted that with the current awareness and crack on illegal refinery of stolen crude oil by the State government, all hands must be on deck to bring a total end to the cause of the SOOT. She added that *ActionAgainstSootInTheNigerDelta* is of the conviction that a strong policy and multifaceted approach will go a long way to save us from the SOOT.
In the meantime, *Hon. Barr. Dumle Maol* has stated that what is needed to bring an end to the SOOT is a United front and concerted efforts not blame game. The lawmaker representing Gokhana Constituency said “Actually it is not about blame game, it’s about a United front and concerted effort. If it is about blame game, I am going to accuse the *Federal government and the International Oil and Gas Companies (IOCs).* We are also aware that security personnel aid in these things, the oil companies some of them have their pipes as old as the 50s.”
He regretted that people have allowed themselves to be used in hurting themselves and the environment “The sad thing is the young man on ground doing the kpofire may not be aware of the risks or dangers therein.” They must hear, they are human beings but they Must stop for all of us. it Must be stopped!”
He further explained that Members of the State Assembly are all affected by the SOOT and have made moves to the effect. “The Rivers State House of Assemble made the first resolution in 2016, The leadership of house and members confronted the Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) few days ago in their office and they gave us their word, a working committee is on ground as we speak and we will be visiting the Local Government Areas (LGAs).
Expressing the need for Health Safety the *ActionAgainstSootInTheNigerDelta* presented a Facemask branded *”SAVE US FROM SOOT”* to the Member of Parliament.
*WAR AGAINST SOOT (CARBON BLACK)* *Together we can WIN the Soot battle.*
*ActionAgainstSootInTheNigerDelta* commends the *Governor of Rivers State, His Excellency, Chief Barr. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike,* for walking the talk.
Recall that on New Year’s Day (January 1, 2022) the Governor declared war against Soot in the State, what many thought would be mere rhetoric. A week later, precisely Sunday January 9, 2022 the action of his words were evident to the great people of Rivers State.
The government’s effort and achievements in a relatively short period of time deserves standing ovation from everyone in Rivers State for the following reasons:
1. It is for our collective interest as against the selfish interest of few.
2. Like the coronavirus pandemic, soot has threatened our very existence for the past six years and counting.
3. Soot is *obviously apolitical*
4. Data at our disposal clearly shows that soot is *life-threatening,* and more than 80% of people living in Rivers State have experienced it.
Our decisions as a society are *often times* based on evidence; as such, having gleaned useful data to aid our fight against soot, we offer to *work collaboratively* with the government and other relevant stakeholders in finding lasting solution to this menace by providing insights, relevant data and strategies to enable us transit from illegal refineries to legal – modular refineries.
Finally, *we accord* full credit to the E.N Wike led government in recognition of this feat; and as a pressure group, we hereby call on all *well-meaning* citizens to lend their voice and support to the government to enable us WIN the battle against Soot not only in Rivers State but the entire Niger Delta region.
We believe that one is good, two is better and a threefold cord cannot be easily broken. Action they say changes things. Let’s act now and save lives!
God bless Rivers State. God bless the Niger Delta. God bless Nigeria.
The ActionAgainstSootInTheNigerDelta applauds His Excellency, Chief Barr. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, Executive Governor of Rivers State on his administration’s resolve to stamp out Soot (Carbon Black) ravaging the State as contained in his New Year’s Speech.
To us as a pressure group with professionals and people from all walks of life, we consider it a welcome development, particularly because the soot situation in the State has gone beyond mere rhetorics to taking action. Soot is not party-friendly; it is a slow killer, affecting both male and female, old and young. Everyone suffers from its damaging consequences – from heart and lung failure to bronchitis, persistent sneezing and coughing that comes out with blood particles and more. It should be on record that Soot (Carbon Black) is threatening our existence as a people.
However, as we reflect on the speech, we are enthused by this stride as the Executive Governor has expressed his concern and went further to empower all Local Government Area (LGA) Chairmen to ensure the discontinuation of illegal refining stations and activities in their respective domains.
In addition, we wish to passionately appeal to the government to distribute nose masks and the enforcement of wearing same in schools as an interim measure; not just for prevention of the spread of COVID but also against inhaling a large chunk of the soot particles by our children and teachers as they resume academic activities pending the outcome of His Excellency’s order to end illegal refining activities throughout the State.
At ActionAgainstSootInTheNigerDelta, we are desirous to bringing to an end the Soot menace in the State; and we frankly do hope that the government will go beyond words to taking visible, actionable steps in stamping out soot by ensuring compliance and enforcement of its directives to the LGA Chairmen.
Finally, while we await action of governments at all levels to finding a permanent solution to the ravaging effect of Soot in the region, we want to reassure residents that we shall not rest in this Fight Against Soot; we shall continue to close ranks with relevant authorities until the battle against Soot is won and the Air Quality Index is brought back to normal, 0-50 which is considered good for inhaling as against the current 151 – 200 PM2.5 – which is unhealthy.
Thank you .
God bless Rivers State, God bless the Niger Delta and Her People. God bless Nigeria.
Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Eco on the 9-12-2021 organized a Conference in Partnership with NGOs and CSOs tagged “#StopTheSootConference in Rivers State @Horlikins Event Centre. Opening Remarks by the President, Rtrn Emem Bridget.
Different Stakeholders we’re involved in making this event happen. It is a process not just an event. Solutions will be discussed more . There must be a way we’re victims of Black Soots are brought together into the mix, so that no Stakeholders components will feel left out or threatened. This is not to adopt a security approach not a forced approach, but an Inclusive approach.
THE SOOT EPIDEMIC DYING BY INSTALLMENT by Engr. R. Tombari Sibe PhD, MNSE. We are talking about health situation here. We are dying slowly as a people in Rivers State .
A brief of an opening Peom: “Don’t soot me, I’m innocent, My Life matters more than Particulate Matter”.
So, what then is P.M? Particulate Matter is a complex mixture of liquid droplets, such as dust, soot, fumes, matter.
Some Potential Sources: Activities of Artisan Refineries. Activities of Heavy Industries.
Intervention Opportunities: Air Quality Monitoring Public Health Advisory Medical Outreach Environmental Clubs.
Recommendation: There should be 12 Air Quality Monitoring Centres. 6 Air Quality Monitoring Team. Regular public Health Advisory. There should be a Sustainable approach to Artisans Refineries.
What Can be done: Setup Air Quality Monitoring stations in strategic locations.
According to SDN , been involved in the issues of Soots.. “No area in Port Harcourt is as Safe as we thought, but the research shows that no area of Port Harcourt is safe. It was equally discovered that more Soots are found in Port Harcourt South (Borikiri) and Trans Amadi, because of the high bunkering and kpor fire activities, pollution is more, than any other area.
Government should make firm policies that should be enforceable. Generally, the Soots started from the fuse of Modular Refineries, but statistics and presentation so far, has it that, it is as a result of the accumulated burning Refineries that led to Soot outbreak.
The Federal Government is also involved in illegality, So the question is, “Can you use illegality to stop legality”.
Air treatment and Air Quality Monitoring Stations. While, we engage Government and other Stakeholders, we need to also engage the Communities.
THE BLACK SOOT PHENOMENON: CAUSES AND EFFECTS ON PUBLIC HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT… By Dr. Ferdinand Giador… Black carbon and pollutants from incomplete combination. Consequences of delayed mitigation. Climate and Clean Air Coalition to reduce short-lived Climate pollutants. “Breathe Clean Air! Port Harcourt are you ready? Port Harcourt, we should aspire to breathe Clean Air.
HYPREP Rep: Emem… He said;. Engagement should move upward to policies Makers and Government. There should be enforcement of Law. More Advocacy. Continuos Monitoring (Air Quality Monitoring). Hydrocarbon substances should be disposed appropriately.
Dr. Dienye Briggs (Public Health Expert and an Activist). He has been part of #StopTheSoots campaign since 2017. The Kpor Fire Boys are providing solutions, but their activities are causing us a health situation. The position is that, we need to engage these boys and get them involved as Partners.
Gas Flaring and Artisan Refineries. Government sees gas flaring as a revenue generation.
The soot? It is a fine Particulate Matter from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels (hydrocarbon).
Some Complications of Soots: Low birth weight Acute respiratory distress syndrome Congenital malformation.
PREVENTION: Provision of basic Social amenities such as constant power supply, well equipped hospitals etc. Government should empower Environmental Agencies. Stop Gas flaring and modify Artisan Refineries.
It was an amazing experience…
@Rotary Club of Port Harcourt Eco UN Environment Programme UNEP Major Group of Children & Youth UN Climate Change Climate Reality Đỗ An Thuyên Eco-network Sunrise Project 350.org 350.org 350 Africa World Health Organization (WHO) World Health Organization African Region Federal Ministry of Health Nigeria Rivers State Ministry of Health Rivers State Government.