Diverse Opinions: Is Nigeria Really Green?

Before finally putting the threads of this article together, I wondered for a while on how the Nigerian public might respond if they were asked ‘is Nigeria really green’? 

Since, I cannot conduct a poll to answer this question, let us look at some narratives on Nigeria's eco sustainability as it relates to air, land, and water 

First, is the issue of gas flaring. Gas, a major cause of human and environmental health issues in the Niger Delta, has been flared in Nigeria since the 1950's.

When crude oil is extracted from onshore and offshore oil wells, it brings with it raw natural gas (eg CO2) to the surface. In Nigeria, a vast amount of this is burned directly into the atmosphere, resulting in the acidification of waterways and rainfall. This in turn damages vegetation, insect and animal life. Its effects are also associated with cancer, neurological defects, deformities in children, lung damage and skin problems. 

Many oil and gas companies argue that as transportation, pipelines and infrastructure are lacking, flaring gas as a waste product is the cheapest option. I see this argument as both uncivil and inhumane! What possible justification can be given for directly or indirectly causing life-threatening hazards? Financial implications? 

The best the federal government and Minister of Petroleum Resources have been doing since 1984 is to grant written permission to these companies to slowly kill our air, and   penalize with a fine, other companies that destroy our waterways, without giving them prior notice. Financial implications again! Over the years, they have forgotten that alternative options exist, for example, using this so called waste products as materials for the synthesis and production of plastics.

To be considered also are the present plights of the people of  Oloibiri (Bayelsa State) and Ogoni Kingdom (Rivers State) - I do remember them most solemnly. These are areas that have undergone devastating environmental degradation: presence of oil blowouts, spillages, oil slicks, and general pollution. Once rich rivers have become empty; fish, if any remain, die in their waters. Same is the case on the already infertile lands; rabbits  now hide in their burrows. Yet many cry, 'there is black gold, oil enriches'. How sad! Is it the oil that cannot be used by the Ogonis to anoint their foreheads, or the oil that the people of Oloibiri cannot use to fry their stew?

Do not get me wrong at this stage, I am not out for the oil companies, or negatively inclined. I just think that the above narratives have a voice- and this matters.

Of course, Nigeria and her federal government had taken some quite remarkable steps in promoting Climate Action and environmental sustainability, over the last few years. Key examples are the Great Green Wall Project, Nigeria Erosion Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP), Climate Change Department, and the proposed Global Climate Change Commission.

At the end, the answer to the question lies with us. 

Is Nigeria really green?

Christopher Oghenekevwe Oghenechovwen , a B.Tech student of Meteorology and Climate Science (FUTA), is a decolonized African, environmentalist and ready volunteer. He is 2013 Citizenship and Leadership Certified by CLTC, Nigerian Federal Ministry of Youth Development, a 2015 UNESCO & Athabasca University student on Media and Information Literacy and Intercultural Dialogue, 2015 Senior Category Gold Winner of The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition, and youth correspondent at . His growing passions lie within the circle of Climate Action, Media and Information, IT, Youth Education and Leadership. Apart from volunteering with Earthplus, The Green Campus Initiative, and doing creative writing, Oghenekevwe loves to connect with people. Invite him for a healthy conversation via

REPOST: Adeyemi University of Education Awarded Two Distinguished Green Awards

The Fourth Annual Green Campuses Conference 2015 was recently held at the University of Western Cape in South Africa from June 28-July 2nd 2015, and for innovators in the field of environmental sustainability, it was the place to be. The conference was organized by the Association of College and University Housing Officers – International (ACUHO-I) with the aim of promoting climate change interventions at colleges and university campuses. A major draw of the conference is the chance for participants to be informed about the National Framework for “Recreating the greener future” in South Africa through various platforms including curriculum design and assessment practices, material development, career development, and to effectively participate in the skills development opportunities within the Green Economy Sector.

Adenike Akinsemolu, Initiator of the Green Campus Initiative at the  Adeyemi University of Education (AUE) delivered a speech titled “AUE’s Journey to Eco-sustainability” at the conference and her institution was awarded Distinguished Green Award (Silver Category) for Green Campus Activities & Programmes and Gold Category Award for the Best New Comer 2015 at the end of the conference. She shared the vision of the organisation which is creating a healthier, happier and more fertile community where staff and students are excited about their work and proud of their achievements. She also delivered her strategic plan for the organisation and explained that the goal of the Initiative include encouraging students and staff to think green, adopt green lifestyle, use bicycles and public transportation; reduce resource usage through recycling; raise Eco-conscious citizens by structuring curricular to focus more on sustainability; promote social entrepreneurship through the development of vocational skills, and create overall environmental awareness.

“The biggest obstacle in tackling climate change is the lack of knowledge about it. Even some who are aware of it, have the erroneous belief that it requires the effort of industrialized countries to curb it. We seek to change that mindset. To us, audience engagement equals powerful impact. We want to put environmental consciousness on the agenda. One of the major reasons for attending this conference is to foster a mutually beneficial collaboration between institutions in order to facilitate shared learning and public-private partnerships”, she said. She added that the Green Campus Initiative was well supported by the Provost of the institution, Professor Olukoya Ogen who is an ambassador of the initiative. The Green Initiative is in line with his vision for the university; therefore the school plans to commence the use of solar power as an alternative source of energy, to reduce the amount spent on diesel to power generators, come 2016.

For more information about the AUE’s Green Campus Initiative Click here or Like their Facebook Page.

Source: I Written by Adekunle Samuel Owolabi