Nigeria

Breaking Free from Fossil Fuels, Nigeria's Best Friend

The argument is over. Anyone that doesn’t believe that climate change is happening doesn’t believe in science.
— Leonardo DiCaprio (Actor, Activist, U.N. Messenger of Peace)

Solemnly, global warming, a cause of climate change, is one of the most important issues facing all of humanity today. Many environmentalists and climate scientists are of the opinion that the rise and proliferation of large scale industries in First World countries blew up the issue of global warming. Today, the significant effects of this industrialization on climate systems and patterns have swayed more towards less developed countries: changing weather patterns, rising sea level, more extreme weather events, and disruption of national economies and lives! Nigeria comes into this global problem at this point - a truth that can not be disputed. Hence, there is a dire need for the Republic of Nigeria to take sustainable actions, to move to a low carbon economy amongst other things.

The Nigerian society has been in an age long, paradoxical relationship with fossil fuels: this energy resources the nation while the ecosystem is damaged. Still, they remain best friends. Fossil fuels are non-renewable energy sources occurring in three (3), major forms; coal, oil or petroleum, and natural gas. On the history of energy sources in Nigeria, Olayinka explains:

Imported coal was first used in 1896, but it was not discovered in Nigeria until 1909 and was first produced in 1916. Although oil exploration started in 1901, it was first discovered in commercial quantity in 1956 and produced in 1958. Oil thereafter took over the energy scene from coal until 1969, when hydro energy was first produced.[1]

It would not be right if I completely paint Nigeria in a bad light with regards to environmental sustainability. Interestingly, 16% of the total energy in Nigeria comes from fossil fuel, and another 1% of it is generated from hydropower. The rest comes from waste and biomass.[2]

This is a good indicator, somewhat; it shows that dependency on fossil fuels have reduced - a step in the process of finally breaking free from them. However, the use of alternative and most importantly, renewable energy sources, is still deficient. As Oliver Twist asks for more, I am asking that more be done, that the Nigerian energy sector completely break free from fossil fuels, and prioritize generating solar and hydro energy. This would be a leapfrog to a cleaner, more resilient economy. I do this with the planet and people in mind.

Some individuals suggest that since fossils fuels are easily available and sourced, the nation should continue harnessing energy from them. I do not stand with this opinion. They must be reminded of the exponential increase in population which has increased the consumption of energy: the stock of fossil fuels has become limited, fast approaching its end. Others might raise issues of low cost and simplicity of harnessing energy from these fuels. Considering the serious health hazards and risk of air pollution – in the short and long term - associated with the combustion of fossil fuels, would it be humane and justifiable to put financial objectives before securing human life?'.

The US solar industry now employs three times more workers than coal mining or oil extraction.[3] Wow! Job creation is also a proof renewable energy generation. The Federal budget should support renewable energy instead of subsidizing the oil industry. Nigeria can completely break free from fossil fuels!

Sources:

1. Ogunsola O.I. (1990, 2007). History of Energy Sources and their Utilization in Nigeria, Energy Sources, 12 (2), p. 181. 

2. "Nigeria: Overview". U.S. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved 8 April 2016

3. Climate Council

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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 yourcommonwealth.org . 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 chrischovwen@gmail.com