Silent Killer: How Nigeria’s Fuel Subsidy Slowly Harms Environment, Create Poor Households

Oil in the Niger Delta Reuters

Nigeria’s delayed transition to cleaner sources of energy with the potential to slow down the effects of climate change is fuelled by state sponsored petroleum subsidies, which make products from fossil fuel cheaper and available to Nigerians for use.

According to Nigeria’s Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, the country is expected to spend N750.81bn on petrol subsidy in 2020. The figure is N300.81bn higher than the N450bn approved by Nigeria’s finance ministry in 2019 for subsidies.

The resolve of the government to make fossil fuel easier to afford has raised a question of sustainability among environmental activists in Nigeria.

“It is scary how Nigeria is overlooking the issue of climate change even when it affects the poorest of Nigerians. The government is funding a global slide into permanently changed weather systems through it subsidies.

“These climatic changes affect when Nigeria’s rural population go to farm and the yield they ultimately have.

“My advice has always been that funds from subsidies be moved to creating cleaner alternatives or diverted into sectors such as health and infrastructure,” says Sakani George, an activist working to educate rural communities in Benue State on climate change.

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