Power At What Cost? Global Rights Nigeria Public Presentation On The Impact Of Coal Mining & Coal Power Generation in Nigeria

Global Rights Nigeria held a public presentation on "The Impact of Coal Mining and Coal Generation on Okobo and Itobe Communities of Kogi State" in Nigeria themed "Power At What Cost?" yesterday at Denis Hotel, Wuse II, Abuja. On the programme of event were 

  • A short video documentary discussing the effects of coal mining activities on Okobo community in Kogi state.
  • Unexpected overview of report on Okobo and Itobe mining communities.
  • Alternatives to coal energy and other energy sources for Nigeria
  • First hand reflections from Okobo mining community (which is the host community) and the mining companies.

Okobo community youth leader, Idris Ibrahim and other members of the community were present to reveal the effects of coal mining in their community. They emphasized on the following issues:

Representatives from Okobo Community
  1. Water- The only stream at Okobo is currently polluted by the activities of the mining company. Women and children travel long distances to fetch water or queue long hours to fetch from water tanker at a school provided by the mining company. It was also reported that at Okobo, the water sample from this water tank recorded a low pH level.
  2. Education- The community had near to non-existent educational facilities, shortage of skilled and qualified teachers and basic infrastructure. The mining company, Eta Zuma built a block of six classrooms which at the time of this report, is the only functional primary school. The former school building constructed by the community had been in a deplorable state and was further damaged by the company's mining operation, according to the community.
  3. Other issues raised by these community representatives were air pollution during mining, the issue of the mining company not recognizing the traditions of their community and the mining companies not living up to the community development agreement signed by both parties.
Okobo community stream polluted by the activities of the coal mining company
Zuma Coal Mines, a coal mining company that was granted coal mining license in 2012, began their activities in Kogi state particularly in Okobo community was represented at the venue by Ambassador Anyalogu who educated those present the roles and activities of mining companies to their host communities, stating that digging up coal does not immediately translate to accessed asset or money but takes time and they will continue to do their best in terms of their community development agreement, engagement and value to their host community.
Amb. Anyalogu, a representative of Eta Zuma Coal Ltd in Okobo community
The big question by the anchorperson to the audience at the event was how to get an alternative source of energy to reduce the adverse impact of coal mining and related activities on the environment while guaranteeing access to energy at affordable cost and in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.

Renewable energy was considered as a resource that can be generated through natural process within a relatively short time such as solar, wind, biomas, hydropower, ocean etc which Nigeria is abundantly blessed with as sources that can be used in generating electricity instead of coal.  This renewable energy overall objective can be found in The Renewable Energy and Efficiency Policy 2015.
Christine K, Country Director Heinrich Boll Foundation

Present at the public presentation were; Ministry of Power, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Solid Minerals, Miners Association of Nigeria, Mining regulatory bodies, conventional and online media representatives etc.

Global Rights is a human rights organization founded on the ideals of a just society for all built on the universal principles of human rights and guaranteed by access to justice. They exist to
  • Document and expose violations
  • Conduct community education and mobilization
  • Advocate for legal and policy reform
  • Use the courts as well as traditional means of dispute resolution on behalf of disadvantaged populations and 
  • Engage the international community, including the United Nations and regional bodies in critical human rights issues