By Ayo Akinfe
(1) Yesterday, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the Deep Offshore Act into law. This basically increases our dependence on crude oil revenue and is only going to lead to a greater scramble for off-shore oil wells
(2) Can someone please explain to me why our National Assembly did not debate imposing a moratorium on oil prospecting and drilling across Nigeria when it debated this bill? Can they not see that this is the direction every other nation is taking?
(3) Are we aware of the fact that the US has banned the drilling for oil in Alaska? It is illegal to prospect or drill for oil and gas in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
(4) Last year, New Zealand announced plans to ban the award of new oil and gas exploration licences in an effort to combat climate change and promote the development of green energy sources
(5) In September 2017, the French Parliament announced plans to introduce legislation to phase out all oil and gas production by 2040, coinciding with the country’s scheduled ban on the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles
(6) Denmark’s energy, utilities and climate minister Lars Christian Lilleholt announced in February 2018 that his government would be ceasing to grant permits for the exploration and drilling of oil, natural gas and shale gas following more than 80 years of activity
(7) Belize’s legislature unanimously approved a bill to ban all future offshore developments within the country’s territories in December 2017
(8) In July 2014, Costa Rica’s President Luis Guillermo Solís extended the country’s ban on petroleum exploration and extraction up to 2021, in addition to issuing new guidelines for energy efficiency across governmental agencies
(9) In February 2018, Ireland’s lower house of parliament, the Dáil Éireann, voted to support legislation to stop the Irish government from providing new contracts for on-shore and offshore oil and gas exploration activities
(10) We simply do not know what we are doing in Nigeria. The more dependent we are on oil, the less likely we are to industrialise. Crude oil is a huge disincentive to economic diversification, industrialisation, the fiscal self-reliance of our federating units and general prosperity. Last month, we discovered new reserves in the River Gongola Basin and jumped in to rape the environment. It is not even as if oil gives us that much anyway. Who is to say that revenue from agriculture in the Gongola Basin alone cannot surpass the paltry $25bn we generate from crude oil sales annually?