Communities, groups lament land grabbing, oil pollution in Africa

Oil spill site in Bodo community PHOTO: ROSELINE OKERE

The Oilwatch Africa network members, community representatives, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community-based organisations (CBOs) have lamented the destruction of livelihoods and local economies by the polluting activities of fossil fuels industries, the issues of land grabbing, displacements and the marginalisation of communities in Africa.

They declared opposition to the use of public funds to subsidise fossil fuel in the continent. The groups, say, political corruption and abuse of power are major problem faced by the people.

The groups maintained that African government must urgently diversify the national economies away from dependence on fossil fuel, exploitation of the people and the destruction of the gift of nature.

At a conference held in Lamu Kenya themed, “Beyond Fossil Fuels” which discussed the politics of fossil fuel extractions, the impacts of fossil fuels on the continent and the strategy to unlock Africa’s power using alternatives to fossil fuels energy systems that are environmentally friendly and socially just, participants also lamented on the implications of the proposed LAPSET project which deal with coal power plant, deep Sea Port and Oil extraction by Kenyan government.

They expressed worries on its impacts on the socio-economic lives of the people of Lamu, their culture, agriculture, fisheries and general livelihoods of the people. Participants further noted that Lamu is an example of similar dirty energy and mega projects being pursued on the continent without full consultations with the people and without their consent.

The conference analysed Africa’s energy needs and the politics of a just transition, the challenges of fossil fuels funding in African countries and the way Africa should go about renewable energy in relation to land tenure and land use.

It also declared full support for the demands of the Save Lamu movement, that governments should urgently transit to renewable energy for all, owned and controlled by people.

Participants at the conference included representatives from Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Togo and Uganda.

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