By Nneka Nwogwugwu
The Olú of Warri Kingdom has called on the developed countries to fulfill the Paris agreement of remitting $100 billion per annum to developing countries.
According to him, the Nigerian government can earmark a sizeable portion of the fund, if given, to extractive communities like Iwereland and her neighbours in the Niger Delta that are affected mainly by hydrocarbon emission.
Speaking at the Public Policy Forum on a ‘Just Transition in Nigeria: Opportunities and Risks,’ organised by the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation, Olú of Warri said that the Niger Delta region has borne the brunt of over 60 years of oil exploration in Nigeria, and reaped comparably little of the benefits.
According to him, the Niger Delta people welcomed the Just Transition Declaration signed by developed countries at the COP26 in Glasgow, which includes a commitment to developing countries and emerging economies, in achieving a just transition to clean and resilient growth pathways.
He, however, said that communities had lost their lands and livelihoods while activists have lost their lives resulting in decades of crying for the healing of the Niger Delta environment.
He said: “As the world catches up to the impact of detrimental global energy practices and excessive consumption, there is an increased urgency to protect the earth and the future of humanity.
“There is a global cry for just transition, for the health of people and the environment. In 2015, the UN’s International Labour Organisation advised that ‘a just transition for all towards an environmentally sustainable economy needs to be well-managed and (should) contribute to the goals of decent work for all, social inclusion, and the eradication of poverty.”
He said that Iwereland, one of the world’s wealthiest hydrocarbon-producing zones per square kilometer, which hosts Okan Filed, the oldest offshore field in Nigeria, has suffered the ills of Nigeria’s hydrocarbon dependence for the past 60 years.
He urged the Nigerian Government to keep Nigerians at the heart of its just transition, adding that the success of the nation’s Energy Transition Plan will depend on how people-focused, the implementation is.