Governor Nyesom Wike
By Gabriel Enogholase – Benin
Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN, has applauded the action by Rivers State government to address the issues of oil theft and refining of stolen crude oil and the consequent release of soot into the environment.
A statement in Benin City, Edo State, by Dr Godwin Uyi-Ojo, Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, said: “Although the current action of the Rivers State government is a welcome development and respite for the people of the state, more still needs to be done.”
He called on governments of other Niger Delta states to take similar actions by identifying and properly decommissioning all artisans stolen crude oil refining sites in their states to halt self-inflicted destruction of the environment and unnecessary loss of lives.
Uyi-Ojo also called for the development of a holistic framework that addresses both the supply of artisan products and the high demand for these products in communities, which include rising cost of living, unemployment, and severe impact from hydrocarbon pollution on rural livelihoods.
He said: “There is the need for providing alternative income generation sources for these youths to discourage them from the illegal act.”
“Governments at all level must as a matter of necessity diversify our economy from oil and gas dependence and towards a transition to renewable energy sources such as solar mining mini-grid and off-grid systems.”