Group urges African Leaders to reject Europe’s craving for new oil and gas in Africa
By: Femi Mustapha
Over fifty-seven Civil Society Organisations working under the aegis of the Peoples Annual General Meeting (Peoples AGM) in Nigeria, working on Climate and Environmental Justice issues, have called on African Governments to reject the craving for new oil and gas in Africa to meet the gas shortage in Europe arising from the Russia invasion of Ukraine. They also call on international financial institutions, including the African Development Bank, the World Bank, and Export Credit agencies, to discontinue financing fossil fuel projects in Africa.
In a statement issued at the sides of the ongoing Africa Climate Summit, the group also called on African Governments to introduce and enforce laws to stop oil and gas companies from expanding their operations, which do not support the transition process to renewable energy.
Convener of the group and Executive Director of the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), the Rev. David Ugolor, said, “African leaders should end fossil fuel subsidies and instead tax oil and gas companies to provide money for communities’ renewable-driven programs.
“We are calling on the global north to offer significant financing for loss and damages for the people of Niger Delta and other host communities and countries affected by the negative impact of fossil fuel extraction and climate change,” Ugolor said.
The group, which expressed deep concern over the dominance of the summit by the global north, which is the big emitters of carbon and polluters of the environment, also wants African Governments to reject the notion that gas is a transition fuel and called on investors from the global North to invest in Renewable energy technologies instead of dirty energy projects.
“We want an end to gas flaring and clean up the entire Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
“We are also calling on African Governments to enforce sanctions on all erring companies and ensure adequate compensation is paid to the people or the damaged environment,” adds Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, Co-Chair of the African Indigenous Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development, AIFES.
“We want investors in Oil and Gas companies operating in Nigeria to agree to participate in a fact-finding mission to the Niger Delta region, and this should be in collaboration with civil society actors to witness the true impact on communities of oil company operations in the Niger Delta.
“We are also calling on investors to stop lending moral and financial support to companies that are expanding oil and gas production in defiance of the Paris Agreement,” says Taiwo Otitolaye, Co-Chair of the Group and National Coordinator, Publish What You Pay, Nigeria.
Ms. Bridget Emem Okon, Executive Director of Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre, urged investors in Oil and Gas to stop promoting flawed “nature-based solutions” for “offsetting” carbon emissions – many of which amount to new carbon colonialism and follow the noble example of the Church of England Pension Board and stop financing oil and gas companies.
World leaders and environmental activists are converging in Nairobi, Kenya, from 4th – 6th September 2023 for the Africa Climate Summit and the Africa Climate Week.
The People’s AGM Platform, established in May 2022 in Lagos, Nigeria, by leaders of community-based organizations from oil-affected communities, including the Niger Delta region, faith-based organizations, human rights groups, students, youths, and artisans, have therefore agreed with some specific recommendations ahead of the Africa Climate Summit. The following recommendations have been agreed upon in alliance with climate justice activists across Africa.