By Ekemini Simon
BudgIT Foundation and the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) have offered explanations into why governments at all levels in Nigeria must immediately commence a plan for a just energy transition.
BudgIT Foundation and NRGI in a press statement issued after a one-day sensitization and capacity building session on just energy transition held in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital on Thursday said if government at all levels in Nigeria does not immediately plan for a just energy transition, citizens will be stranded when the shift from fossil fuel stare the country in the eye.
The statement noted that the global shift to clean energy sources from fossil fuels demands that countries, especially developing societies like Nigeria redesign their domestic energy systems and wean their economies away from fossil fuel dependence.
They pointed out that fossil fuel producing and dependent economies such as Nigeria which rely on petro-dollars to sustain its currency and keep the lights on are at risk if their response is not done properly.
“State governments especially rely on petro-dollars for between 50 – 80% of their revenues. Without petro-dollars, those states will be in dire straits.
Despite being one of the least contributory to climate change, it is still important for Nigeria to respond to the global energy transition as it stands to be one of the most impacted by climate change”, the statement said.
The statement noted that as plans to shift household energy use from charcoal and kerosene to gas, biofuels and clean energy alternatives intensify, it is unclear how the government will ensure affordability or accessibility to these new energy sources especially for marginalized groups such as women and youths.
The statement noted that presently, there are no plans or support provided to up-skill, re-skill or reconnect women to new job opportunities when the indirect jobs such as food supply, health care, domestic support they depend on slow as fossil fuel projects close for cleaner alternatives.
The statement insisted that the transition will displace many youths employed in the fossil fuel sectors or through indirect jobs as well if they are not provided with training or opportunity in other sectors.
The statement added ” Already, oil producing states; Imo, Akwa Ibom and Rivers State as of 2022, had the highest rate of unemployment with 48.7%, 45.2% and 43.7% respectively.
“Additionally, legacy environmental pollution caused by oil companies are not being addressed even as the rate of divestment by responsible international companies continues to increase at an alarming rate.”
BudgIT Foundation and the Natural Resource Governance Institute called on the National Council on Climate Change, the Department of Climate Change within the Federal Ministry of Environment and the Energy Transition Office to ensure that the impacts of the energy transition on the identified vulnerable groups are mitigated against.
They recommended that the voices of these marginalized groups should be given space to participate in decision making to ensure environmental justice, social inclusion and economic inequality.
The organizations also called on State and local governments to lead the charge in ensuring that the interests of their indigenes are put at the forefront of the just energy transition.