By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Environment Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has disclosed that about one billion, two hundred million people living around the African continent lack access to clean and renewable energy sources due mainly to poverty.
The Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Godwin Uyi Ojo, stated this during a press briefing to call on Africa government to revolutionize the energy sector from fossils to renewable energy sources which held in Abuja.
“The broad-based coalition of NGOs and community representatives from Nigeria, Uganda and DRC identified widespread poverty across Africa as the bane for energy poverty in the continent with over 1.2 billion people dependent on biomass mostly from fossil fuels”, he said.
Speaking on the impediments facing the Just Energy Transition (JET), the environmental rights advocacy group called on governments in Sub-Sahara Africa to take the lead in the on-going energy revolution to transit from oil, gas, and coal dependence to alternatives in renewable energy sources.
He said calls to action for a Just Energy Transition in Nigeria is in line with meeting the Sustainable Development Goal 7 on energy access for all, adding that the Paris Agreement in 2015 created development pathway to reduce global warming to 1.5 which is well below 2 degrees to avoid catastrophic climate events and changes.
Uyi Ojo therefore called on African governments to tackle poverty to ensure access to energy, saying “We note that the energy poverty across Africa is due to widespread poverty. Hence there is the need for African governments to tackle the incidence of poverty headlong. Poverty can be addressed by extending energy access to all especially the vulnerable groups.”
He said energy access should be seen as a right for all, observing that there is injustice surrounding the production and supply of energy that must be addressed to promote energy democracy that allows decentralized energy production systems so that individuals and communities can produce mini-grid and off-grid systems to power their needs.