·Natural Justice-backed group demands inclusiveness in Rivers flood committee
By Wisdom Chukwu-Ohaegbule
Natural Justice (Nigeria) is backing a new group, Climate Justice Movement (CJM) which has risen to demand for end of oil economy to reduce climate disasters.
A group campaigning against causes of climate change has demanded for end to oil and gas exploitation.
The group also demanded an end to an economy built on things beneath the ground but on things in the brains of human in the oil region.
Climate Justice Movement (CJM) which made the demand in the oil and gas city of Port Harcourt said this is to help reduce flooding that is ravaging the coastal areas and beyond.
Climate Justice Movement led by Mike Karikpo of Natural Justice (Nigeria) said so when they mounted a roadshow in Port Harcourt to draw attention to ravaging environmental and climate issues.
The rally began Wednesday morning at the Isaac Boro Park at Mile One and proceeded to the Brick House, the seat of power in the oil and gas city where an aide to Gov Sim Fubara collected the petition on behalf of the state government.
Addressing the press at the ‘Park’, Karikpo said: “We are building a movement of young people, of women, of community, of students, and of the media. We are working together to address the climate crises from its very root.”
He said the crowd defied rains to attend the rally, all to demonstrate the importance the people of the oil region attach to climate and environment challenges.
He linked this to the deaths that occurred in the Niger Delta in 2012 and in other more recent years.
He said the march was to demand for
climate justice and to demand a climate justice from those he described as ‘Our burden bearers’, referring to the state governments in the oil region and their its agencies.
He said: “It is important to protect our environment, because our environment is our life. Without the environment we cannot exercise any other right that we have as human beings.
“This morning, we will march from here to the Government House to present a petition, both to the governor and to food response committee. We have asked that they expand and extend flood response committee to include women, persons with disabilities, young people who suffered the greatest interest of climate change, who are at the frontline of the climate crises. These should be part of those who decide the solution to the crisis.”
Karikpo, who is also the leader of Natural Justice (Nigeria) added that the protesters were there to make sure that their voices were heard. “this is because the only way we can accelerate any action is to come together, to work together, stand together, and to demand that our government do what is good and what is right.”
On the criticality of the coastal area, the convener said the world is dependent on fossil fuel. “In US, about four months, temperatures have been above 40 degrees; China and Morocco share same experience.
“All over the world we have climate disaster taking place, yet the world is unwilling to let go of fossil fuel; including crude oil, gas and coal.
“Is our life that is at stake right now, we had to force our government to start thinking of life beyond oil, of life beyond fossil fuel.”
He said Nigeria and Rivers State have been very lucky because Nature has bestowed upon them minerals to have gas, crude oil and they can export it, and we say no, we are the Treasure Base of nation.
“For the economy that is coming, the society that is coming, it is a society that will require what we have up in our brains. How do we think about the solution that will deal with the issues we face as a people.”
He said the Rivers State government has set up a flood response committee and that environment sanity campaign group is thankful for that. “What we want Rivers State government to do with the flood response committee is to ensure that it is inclusive, that persons who are at the forefront of climate impact: women, young people, persons with disabilities, the most vulnerable in our communities, should be part of the committee.
“Secondly, we are asking that the flood response committee, which is an intermediary committee that has one of the local government chairmen as one of the part of the committee, should be changed and turned into ‘Climate Justice Adversary Committee’ that will advise the state government on how to transit from an oil-based economy, and from a fossil fuel economy to an economy that depends on our brains on what we have up there. It is now about an economy that is sustainable, that protects the environment, protects our lives, and that protects the earth.”