By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja
The Health of Mother Earth Foundation has cried out against President Asiwaju Bola-Ahmed Tinubu’s new lineup of ministries, which include the Ministries of Gas Resources, Petroleum and Marine and Blue Economy respectively
In a statement by the body said the creation of these ministries raises special concerns at this time of our history, stating that ”It is shocking to see that the Environment has no minister. Not appointing a minister for environment sends a signal to Nigerians about the concern of the president to a sector that is so fundamental to their survival”.
The Executive Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nnimmo Bassey, states that “We do not see a bright future for the Nigerian environment, people, and economy with the President as minister of the twin petroleum ministries, and with the creation of a Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy.
“The three ministries will pose unique problems for our aquatic ecosystems and will inevitably worsen the plight of communities whose interests are once more set to be sacrificed.” Bassey added that title Marine and Blue Economy is tautological as the Blue Economy is practicable only in marine or aquatic ecosystems.
“The government may wish to rename the unit as Ministry of Marine Resources. The concept of Blue Economy, like the Green Economy, is aimed at massive exploitation and commodification of Nature with deleterious consequences. Developing the marine and blue economy sectors will lead to industrial fishing, pollution, habitat destruction, marine biotechnology, deep sea mining and other activities that are ecologically harmful. With a hugely unpoliced continental shelf this focus will pose special threats to our communities and others in the entire Gulf of Guinea.he added
HOMEF believes that by prioritizing gas, other renewable energy sources will be neglected. This lack of diversification will hinder a country’s ability to adapt to future energy demands. It portends continuous disruption of our ecosystems with attendant health and safety risks. At a time when health and environmental audits should be conducted in the oil field communities, the government is poised to ramp up the horrors. This is unacceptable.
After taking so long to put together the cabinet, the announced set up raises many questions. While these may be addressed at the swearing in ceremony, it is hoped that the government will explain the erasure of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to Nigerians, and what appointing a coordinating minister for the Ministry of Health means.
HOMEF believes that it is important to carefully consider the potential repercussions when setting priorities for energy policies, as finding the right balance between economic interests, environmental health, and social well-being is crucial.
It should also be noted o that our inland water, coastal and marine environment has been subjected to violent exploitation that has led to the degradation that the environment suffer from; creating this ministry will lead to the intensification of such violet exploitation. Most adjacent communities and coastal communities where exploitation is taking place, there’s no portable water there as a result of pollution. This ministry will legalize such pollution. Artisanal fishing will be no more as well