A breath of Fresh Air as Coal Free Nigeria Campaigners meets Legislators

Campaigners from Benue with Honourable Patrick Ejeh

Coal Free Nigeria campaigners from Benue State, Kogi State, Kaduna State, Nasarawa State and the Federal Capital Territory received a breath of fresh air in their bid to get the government of Nigeria to stop the issuance of coal mining licenses. This fresh air came with resounding hope as the activists met with legislators representing communities that are already grappling with the adverse effects of coal mining at the recently held National Climate Lobby Day. 

The National Lobby Day commenced on Monday the 25th of October, 2021 with the training of coal campaigners on the act of lobbying by David Michael Terungwa. The campaigners were taken through the 5-levers of building political will and through a demonstration of a mock lobbying exercise the advocates shown the act of lobbying. Thereafter, campaigners practiced in different groups how they were going to engage the legislators on Coal Free Nigeria demands.

Consequently, On the bright and sparkling morning of Tuesday, 26th October, 2021, the team approached the National assembly complex with twisted feelings of excitement and trepidation with uncertainty of how events will pan out. After a few hitches at the entrance of the complex, the team proceeded to capture this historical moment in still pictures. Thereafter, one after the other, 5 different groups went in search of their designated Senator or House of Representative member.

After about 3 hours of scanning for the offices of their designated legislators, the group returned with bursting euphoria of the feat they just achieved. The community member from Benue State successfully got in touch with their representative, Honourable Patrick Ejeh. He welcomed the team with great enthusiasm and he expressed his oblivion of the coal mining activities taking place in Ogbadibo Local Government Area of Benue State. He requested for documentation of the team findings on the activities of coal miners in the area, unfortunately, the team from Benue did not have one at the time. They however, assured the Honourable of presenting him their findings by their next visit. 

On the other hand, their counterparts from Kogi were unable to meet Honourable Zakari Alfa who represents Ankpa LGA, but were able to secure a rescheduled date for the meeting. Furthermore, other campaigners met the Senate Committee Chairman on Ecology and Climate Change, Senator Mohammad Gusau who received them warmly. He solicited that the campaigners engage the Nigerian team at the COP 26 in Glasgow.

In retrospect, the first National Climate Lobby Day presents light at the end of the tunnel for the Coal Free Nigeria campaign. 

BY Joseph Ibrahim