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Group embarks on hunger strike over climate change in Nigeria

As the world prepares for the United Nations Conference of Parties on Climate Change, COP 28, billed to hold in Dubai, United United Arab Emirates from November 30- December 12, 2023, a group, the Youths and Environmental Advocacy Centre – Nigeria has embarked on a hunger strike, calling on President Bola Tinubu to address climate issues in Niger Delta and Nigeria at large.

Executive Director of YEAC-Nigeria, Dumnamene Fyneface Dumnamene who spoke to Vanguard during a street walk in Port Harcourt, said the action is to call on leaders of the country to take action to end climate change, pollution and gas flaring in the country.

He said the challenge of climate change is affecting everybody in the world not only Nigeria, and as such deliberate actions should be taken to curb it.

“Today in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria, we are embarking on hunger strike to call on our leaders to take action on climate change as they gather in Dubai for the Conference of the Parties on Climate Change , COP 28.

“Climate change is affecting everybody generally both in Nigeria and around the world and the impact of climate change is very heavy on the people especially the Niger Delta and we are trying to say that our leaders should take action to give us a safer earth and address climatic change. We need a systemic change to address climate change. We need a comprehensive implementation of the Paris Club Agreement on Climate Change, we need a stop to gas flaring that is contributing to climate change,” he said.

Dumnamene added: “What I want President Tinubu to do is that Nigeria in 2016 ratified the Paris Club Agreement on Climate Change, so the president should call for action to implement that document. Nigeria is working towards net zero by the year 2060, this is the time to take action that would lead us to that.

“Nigeria also recently, launched the Energy Transition Plan, let Mr President take action to implement that plan in Nigeria.

“Mr President should also take steps to address the issue of gas flaring in the Niger Delta. We have been shifting the goal post against gas flaring and we cannot continue to shift any further, so we need to address it holistically. There should also be a stop to environmental pollution. I believe that the president can put in place policies that can address this issues”.

He said the hunger-strike will be sustained till December 12, 2023 and called on people to join the strike.

“Today, we are on a street walk, creating awareness on climate change. We are going to sustain this action but won’t be on the streets. The action actually started on November 1 and its going to be sustained till December 12, 2023 in Nigeria and around the world, so wherever you are, we are calling people to hunger-strike and call our leaders to take action, it’s a collective responsibility,” he said.

Also speaking during the street walk, Programmes Officer of Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre, Idongesit Smart, said women’s sources of livelihoods have been adversely affected by climate change and oil pollution.

“Niger Delta women are known to be fisherwomen and farmers, but now the livelihoods of women have been automatically destroyed as a result of climate change.

“Constant oil spills pollutes the environment and women don’t have water to drink anymore because even the underground water is polluted, so we are joining to call on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu that as he is attending COP28 this year, he should address the issue of climate change, we need a systemic change because if our system changes, the issue of climate change will be addressed,” she stated.

She said women are suffering from early blindness, early menopause amongst other effects that’s why they are on the street for the strike.

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