Nigeria has been grappling with insufficient energy access for nearly three decades now. The countries currently have an installed capacity of 12,522 MW which is a far cry from the required 96,000MW. Of the current installed capacity, over 80% are thermal plants (gas-powered) while 20% is from renewable sources

Source: (Nigeria’s energy mix)

Recently, the Government of Nigeria has continued to increasingly explore coal as a source of power generation.  As a result, a number of coal mining companies have sprung up within the last decade. This unfortunate situation inspired the commissioned research on the status of coal mining in Nigeria. The research showed that coal mining was active in Kogi, Benue, and Gombe states and has led to extensive environmental degradation including the contamination of air, water, and soil which negatively affects the health of local communities. 

The publication of the Coal in Nigeria fact sheet in May 2020, gave tremendous impetus to the anti-coal struggle in the country. However, since the publication, a number of actions and activities have happened including protests by community members. These actions have generated some consequences for the community people involved. Many have been threatened, others have been arrested and the forces involved remain resolute in their attempt to silence the voice of the people. 

Only recently, an environmental activist Okwori Onaji was arrested in Benue State for protesting against Dangote coal mines in the Owukpa area of the State. 350 Nigeria volunteers stood in solidarity with Onaji and mobilized support through social media actions to influence his safe release. Our contacts at Benue State Government, whom we lobbied for his release, we’re also very instrumental in getting Onaji free.

It is against this backdrop, that the necessity of training on the security of anti-coal campaigners was established. GIFSEP together with other 350 Nigeria volunteers will be equipping frontline community members with skills relevant for campaigning. This training will ensure that selected community activists acquire sufficient skills in campaigning, organizing and community mobilization, security, storytelling, digital campaigning, and building relationships with the media and policymakers. The training is scheduled to hold from the 1st to 3rd of September, 2020.

Furthermore, in commemoration of this year’s Global Day of Climate Action on 25th September 2020, 350 Nigeria volunteers will be launching the “COAL FREE NIGERIA CAMPAIGN”. This campaign is premeditated on the goal of halting the issuance of coal mining licenses in Nigeria and the eventual withdrawal of the existing ones by 2025. The campaign will ultimately target the Nigerian Parliament, affected host communities, Media, the Federal Government of Nigeria, Non-Governmental Organisations, religious institutions, and the coal mining companies who are all major stakeholders in their own rights. 

A coal-free Nigeria is a journey with a clear destination to arrive at; we just need you on board.

Ibrahim Joseph.