A group, Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation (GIFSEP) has called on the Federal Government to ban coal mining in the country in order to mitigate the effects of climate change.
David Michael, team leader, DeCOALonise Nigeria Coalition, who is also the Executive Director of GIFSEP made the call at a press conference on Tuesday.
More so, the group called on the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to stop the issuance of licence for coal mining in Nigeria.
In addition, GIFSEP urged the leadership of the National Assembly to promulgate a law to ban coal mining.
Further more, Michael reminded the Federal Government of the imperativeness of accelerating national plans to a rapid, just transition towards 100% renewable energy for all Nigerians.
As signatory to the Paris Agreement, the group urged government to abide to the commitments of the agreement which requires phased reduction of greenhouse gases emissions.
According to Michael, “The Federal Government of Nigeria in 2017 ratified the Paris Agreement and therefore has an obligation to reduce its carbon emission and this includes among several other action s the outright ban on coal mining”.
It regretted that the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development is issuing coal mining licenses to power generating firms.
“Burning coal raises the level of carbon dioxide, goes against the government plans pledges for low carbon development pathway and contradicts the Paris Climate Agreement ratified by the Federal Government.
“Nigeria has a serious problem of power generation, the group stated, but insisted that coal is not the right answer .
“Burning coal poses severe health, human and environmental effects. Emissions are responsible for respiratory illnesses, cardiovascular disease, asthma attacks, brain damage and cancer.
“They affect the environment by creating acid rain, depleting surface or groundwater and contribute to global climate change.
“Evidence are abound in Gombe and Kogi State where coal is currently mined in Nigeria.
“While governments around the world are switching to more cleaner, efficient and sustainable energy solutions, there is no valid argument to explore coal options.
“Nigeria will not be left behind the anti-coal movement” the group maintained.
“We must safeguard the future of our continent fast. We call on the Government to deCOALonise Nigeria and leapfrog the country straight to renewable energy sources that will benefit millions of people.
“It is time for Nigeria to join the rest of the world in banning coal mining and making the world a better place to live in. It’s time to de COALonise” GIFSEP demanded.
On his part, president CLIMATTERS, Smart Chukwuma Ammaefule who outlined the harmful effects of coal to mankind said that about 3.7 million premature deaths have so far been recorded in Nigeria as a result of inhaling air pollution that generate from coal.
Ammaefule who expressed concern over the recent Memorandum of Understanding recently signed by the governor Enugu State, Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwanyi on behalf of the State with the Chinese government to commence coal mining in the State added that the move shows ten steps backwards in the bid to achieve the elimination of coal mining in the country.
For her part, a representative from Global Rights, a body responsible for Human Rights said,a research report has revealed that most of the rural communities in Kogi and Gombe State are going through various forms of various ailments as a result of persistent usage of contaminated water.
She stressed the need to embrace renewable energy as it is been done globally hence it is cheaper and safer.
The group further staged a walk to the Ministry of Mines and steels where they submitted a petition with the title DeCOALonise Nigeria.
The petition was received by some officials in the ministry on behalf of the minister.
Doosuur Iwambe -Abuja