BENIN CITY, NIGERIA. June 5, 2019…The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, has called on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to end the importation of dirty fuels which are high in sulphur into the country perpetrated by unscrupulous petrol and diesel dealers in keeping with its commitments on Paris Declaration on Climate Change.
Executive Director of ANEEJ, Rev David Ugolor in a statement on the occasion of this year’s World Environment Day equally called on the government to set realistic target to end gas flaring in oil-producing states in the country, adding that the continuous shifting of the goal state has become embarrassing to the nation.
“On the occasion of this year’s World Environment Day which focuses on “Air Pollution”, we want to draw the attention of federal government to the fact that this practice is continuing and it has to be stopped. Government has to do more,” Rev Ugolor demanded.
He stated that “Swiss commodity trading companies – Vitol and Trafigura, take undue advantage of weak fuel standards in Africa to produce, deliver and sell diesel, Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and gasoline, which damage the health of our people. Their business model relies on an illegitimate strategy of deliberatelylowering the quality of fuels for gain. Using a common industry practice called blending, Vitol and Trafigura and their conglomerates mix cheap and toxic intermediate petroleum products to produce what the industry calls “African Quality” fuels. These products contain higher levels of Sulphur and other harmful poisons that can never be found in Europe and the United States.
“We are aware that the African Refinery Association (ARA) which is made up of West African countries including Nigeria has an AFRIC Standard focusing on low Sulphur content which is targeting at 50ppm to be achieved by the year 2020. This is just one year away from the target year and urgent action is needed for Nigeria to meet the target.” Ugolor stated.
On the hazards of emission of Green House Gases, the ANEEJ helmsman said: “the emission of Green House Gases leads to depletion of the ozone layer; resulting to the Climate Change phenomenon and putting all Nigerians at risk; especially the poor and vulnerable people and communities which has little or nothing to withstand such threats. We urge big emitters such as US, Canada and European Union member countries to cut their emissions and save poor nations from the dangers of Climate Change.
“Already Nigeria is experiencing sea level rise, unless important agreements on climate change like the Paris Agreement is taken seriously in practical terms; coastal communities in the Niger Delta; stands a great risk of extinction,” Ugolor emphasized.
“We wish to draw attention of Nigerian public to the fact that the quality of our environment has close affinity to current life expectancy ratings which, for Nigeria, currently stands at 54.7 and 55.7 for male and female respectively according to the latest WHO ranking of 2018. It is significant to note that the major causes of death according to the report are air borne diseases like tuberculosis, influenza and pneumonia, the prevalence of which in Nigeria are ranked Nos 1 and 2 in the world. Yet there are others like lung disease and asthma. Thus the imperative of promoting cleaner environment is accentuated by the need to promote healthy living for the citizens.
“We call on the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, the Federal Ministry of Environment and other regulatory authorities to rise up to end the importation of dirty fuel into the country.
“We also call for an end to all sources of environmental pollution including, gas flaring, refuse burning as well as bush burning. Appropriate MDAs and Civil Society Organisations should discourage these practices through mass sensitization and appropriate legislation.
It would be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in 2016 in New York. The Paris Climate agreement was endorsed by 194 nations. It was intended to put the world on a path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius and raise needed finance put at 100 billion dollars projected for the Green Climate Fund.
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