Stakeholders in the environment sector have kicked against the method adopted in coal mining activities, saying such mining and burning are responsible for global warming and climate change.
They spoke on Thursday, September 10, 2020 at a training in Abuja for selected community stakeholders from Benue and Kogi states where coal is currently being mined.
Owukpa Community, Ehaja Ward 1, Ogbadibo Local Government Area, Benue and Onupi Community in Ankpa Local Government area of Kogi, are parts of the communities currently mining coal.
Mr David Michael, the Executive Director, Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation (GIFSEP), said coal mining had degraded the land, while its burning had negatively impact on the environment and climate change.
“We cannot continue to degrade the land more than we have done, and this is exactly what coal mining is doing.
“Apart from the mining which is destroying the land, burning of coal is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emission which is responsible for global warming and climate change.
“So, we, as a country and as a continent, Africa, we have seen the impact now; the effect is already here with us, and it is not something of the future,’’ Michael said.
According to him, the way forward is to take steps to help people build resilience to climate change effects which are already happening.
“Already, there is poverty and with these effects, it means that we are not able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“So, we must plant trees to at least reduce the effect of flooding. We must construct small dams to harvest water and reduce the rate at which water destroys the farmland.
“We need to farm better by advising people not to build their houses on flood plains; we need to create more awareness, most especially among the local farmers.
“They need to understand that this is a new trend, and it is not just going to stop now, it will continue,’’ he said.
The executive director recalled that since 2010 when the country witnessed flooding, the number of flood cases kept increasing.
“So, we need to find a way to deal with flooding. We also need to move away from rainfall agriculture.
“As it is, many of the farmers that planted cannot predict when the rain will fall, unlike before now.
“But, if you are able to harvest water and make use of the dam we have, you will have water available to plant when you want to plant and harvest when you want to harvest or you can even farm all year round,’’ Michael said.
Also, Chief Godwin Onoja, the Chief of Al-Agada-Owukpa in Ehaja Ward 1, Ogbadibo Local Government Area, Benue, has called on the Federal Government to ensure the effective implementation of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in the community where coal is being mined.
Onoja said relevant stakeholders of Owukpa Community where coal is being mined by an indigenous company had no input in the EIA.
In her remarks, Mrs Florence Abbah, a resident of Onupi Community, Ankpa Local Government, Kogi, decried the coal mining activities in her community.
Abbah said that mining had polluted the community’s water.
She called on the government to intervene and rescue the community.
By Deji Abdulwahab