CSOs Demand Inclusion of Communities, Women in Energy Transition

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

Civil society organisations have called on the federal government to involve oil and gas host communities and women in its energy transition action plan.

The call was made yesterday at a stakeholders and community engagement on ‘Just Energy Transition’ in Gio, Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State organised by Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre (YEAC) in partnership with Spaces for Change, with funding from Africa Centre for Energy Policy.

The groups noted that women are key stakeholders in energy efficiency and environmental sustainability initiatives, therefore, they should be fully involved in the transition plan.

The CSOs also charged the federal government to ensure environmental justice, by ensuring that all oil impacted communities are remediated, and alternative livelihoods provided for the people,  before transiting away from fossil fuels.

While speaking, the Executive Director of YEAC-Nigeria, Mr. Fyneface Dumnamene Fyneface, said youths must be given alternative livelihoods, while women who bear the brunt of fossil fuels should be involved in decision making.

Fyneface revealed that the engagement

was imperative to sensitised the local communities on government policy of just energy transition, since the country has chosen gas as its energy transition fuel and that people should make contributions to be included in government policies.

He said there should be spaces, direct and indirect platforms for debates and engagements on the energy transition models proposed, while also advocating for skills and jobs to be made available for communities.

The executive director further advocated for a means to incentivise the local youths to explore other legitimate low-income generating alternatives, as well as community-based monitoring and evaluation for compliance with contracts and agreements.

He said: “We are here to let the people know that Nigeria is transiting from fossil fuel to renewable energy sources and that gas has been chosen as the energy fuel for the country to go to a cleaner and greener economy.

“We also called on the government to involve people in the energy transition process for the country. The people are not involved and even women who are most impacted in oil pollution are not included.

“Women are key stakeholders in energy efficiency and environmental sustainability initiatives. They have borne the brunt of environmental and

economic damages of the fossil fuel era. They should be involved, included and their voices heard in energy decision-making in the green economy.”

Earlier, the Executive Director of Spaces for Change, Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, said there should be a clear roadmap for host communities before leaving fossil fuel to renewables.

Represented by Assistant Programme Officer, Jecinta Mbamara, Ibezim-Ohaeri said: “The purpose is to move from polluted fossil fuel to cleaner energy sources such as solar, wind, gas among others.”

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