- Concerned citizens in nine African countries including Nigeria, have risen in opposition against the use of public funds to subsidise fossil fuels.
- They are also demanding that land tenure systems on the continent must respect community ownership as dictated by culture and tradition
These are part of a six-point declaration by participants at a continental meeting organised by a civic group, Oilwatch Africa. Participants were drawn from Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Togo and Uganda
The event which took place in Kenya from August 7-8, attracted Lamu community representatives in Kenya, non-governmental and community-based organisations.
Nigeria’s Nnimmo Bassey, a prominent environmental rights activist and Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) who made this known this known to this reporter on Friday said the conference has as its theme: Beyond Fossil Fuels.
According to Bassey, ”the conference considered 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 of the conference considered also the implications of the proposed LAPSET project (Coal power plant, deep Sea Port and Oil extraction) by the Kenyan Government on the socio-economic lives of the people of Lamu, including the impacts of these project on their culture, agriculture, fisheries and livelihoods of the people. After listening to the Save Lamu movement experiences, the conference 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 free prior informed consent”.
The conference analysed:
- Africa’s energy needs and the politics of a just transition;
- The challenges that fossil fuels funding in African countries, including the issues of debt and the resolution of disputes under a jurisdiction different from the involved country;
- The way Africa should go about renewable energy in relation to land tenure and land use;
- The political corruption and abuse of political power as a major problem faced by the people
- 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 due to fossil fuel industry activities among others
The conference then declared:
- Full support for the demands of the Save Lamu movement;
- Opposition to the use of public funds to subsidize fossil fuels;
- That land tenure systems on the continent must respect community ownership as dictated by culture and tradition
- Communities must give their free prior informed consents for projects proposed for their territories while retaining their right to say NO
- That governments should urgently transit to renewable energy for all, owned and controlled by people
- African governments must urgently diversify national economies away from dependence on fossil fuels, exploitation of peoples and the destruction of the gifts of nature.
This is known as Lamu Declaratio