Environmental activists have warned against environmental pollution and degradation in Lagos as it is in Niger-Delta states following the discovery of oil in the state.
The call was made on April 12 at Bailiff Africa Youth Environment workshop on oil in Lagos to address the environmental issues posed by the discovery of crude oil in the state.
The event by the Pan African Environmental organisation featured a wide range of speakers from the energy, envir
onmental sectors and government parastatals in Nigeria.
The Executive Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Nnimmo Bassey said that the promises of crude oil are usually not what they purport to be and called for the refocusing of the nation’s investment in crude oil.
Bassey cited examples from the Ogoniland oil spills in South-eastern Nigeria and the Exxon Valdez Oil Spills, Alaska that occurred in 1970 and 1989 respectively, observing that “oil spills do not go away” because, till date, the negative impacts of those oil spillages are still evident in the ecosystem of the affected communities
Speaking on the same note, Dr. Abiodun Olusogo of the Lagos State Marginalised Communities Forum, an environmentalist who works with those displaced by government activities and natural disasters enunciated the negative effects of the exploration of oil in Lagos.
Olusogo revealed that it will have effect on human and social economy explaining that land will be acquired and people living on the land will be displaced, while land meant for agricultural purposes will also be affected and cultural identity will be lost.
He explained further that it will have atmospheric impact, aquatic effects and terrestrial impact on the environment.
” It is not about exploration, it is about taking care of the people in the community that will be affected. The impact of the oil is deadly and it requires all the resources to mitigate against the hazard of oil exploration. That is why government, private sector and communities must all work together to manage this hazard effectively.”
Engineer Titilope Fadipe who represented the Commissioner of Environment of Lagos State at the event charged youths to be more innovative, think outside the box and challenge the political system to encourage advancement of the society.
In her address, the Executive Director of Ballif Africa, Olufunmilayo Oyatogun noted that the issue of oil in Lagos, and the impact on the environment is a major issue of concern because ” we have developed our culture so much around fossil fuels that we are heavily dependent on them.”
“So, our mission at Bailiff Africa is to contextualize global environmental issues and present them to young Africans in a way that makes us realize that they are indeed problems of health, development, economy, food security, and human survival. Consequently, we ensure that young people are provided with the resources they need to tackle this issue,” she said.
Over 100 participants attended the programme.
The two-year old organisation has organized series of programmes that provided current and relevant information about environmental issues across Africa and highlight the small and big solutions that Africans are coming up with to solve their environmental problems.
Through its online magazine it has discussed issues on climate change, energy, environmental justice, food and agriculture, wildlife and conservation, and most recently, green tourism.
“Because we focus on young people, we meet them through creative media like films, documentaries, art, etc. and then they can easily accept to listen to heavy issues, such as Oil in Lagos, in a way that empowers them to participate” Oyatogun reiterated.
By Seye Joseph