Power at All Cost

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Create DateApril 19, 2018
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Nigeria has been at cross roads regarding its energy future for a while now. In order for the nation not to
allow this crisis to go to waste, it must recognize and appreciate it as an opportunity to capture the high
grounds ofglobal advancements.It must use 'whatit has to get whatit wants', while maintaining a strategic
contextualbalance.
The context ofNigeria's energy future is one common to most developing countries: a world contending
with climate change and its consequences, a rapidly growing population, a quest for industrial
development, and the vast availability of natural resources to generate power. Our contention in this report
is' a choice ofnaturalresourceNigeria intends to power its energy quest.
Nigeria is spoilt for choices of sources for power generation and in its quest to fill its energy deficit gulf,it is
scrambling to utilize as many power sources as possible; of core concern is its decision to power 30% of its
energy needs from coal.
Its choice of coal power is fraught with inherent challenges if it intends to meeting its other aspirations:
protecting the health and well-being of its population, strategically responding to climate change, and
ensuring cheap and almost infinite supply of materials.
Coal accounts for some of the worst manmade ecological disasters globally. For example, as at 2009, in the
Europe Union alone, annually, coal energy generation accounted for 1 8, 200 premature death, 2.1 million
days of medication, 4.1 million days of lost work, and 28.6 million cases of lower respiratory tract
disorders. WithNigeria'spolicy 30% coal power source utilization policy, it will unavoidably contend with
similar issues. In contrast, however, at the Climate Change Conference at Marrakech (COP22) in 2016,
President Buhari had said that Nigeria will become a reference point for carbon emission reduction. The
country is also a signatory to the Minamata Convention on Mercury. Yet, it is cognizant of the fact that apart
from being the largest single contributor to greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, coal
power plants are responsible for 41% manmade mercury emissions, which can travel long distances before
being deposited in soil or water and so will affect more communities than the coal plant host communities.
Whether the Nigerian government will show commitment to their international pledges will be proven by
their policies and actions.
While coal is still one of the largest sources of energy globally, there has been a paradigm shift in its use as
more countries are beginning to work towards phasing it out and are moving towards cleaner, and
renewable sources such as solar, thermal, and wind sources, which are also proving to be less expensive.
Our report on Maiganga community is therefore to provide forensic anecdotal evidence and a realistic  projection of the environmental and socio-economic effects of coal energy production in the short period coal mining commenced in the state;  and to demonstrate the state of the communities that will inordinately
bear the consequences of Nigeria's coal utility policy.


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POWER AT ALL COST......THE IMPACT OF COAL MINING ON HOST COMMUNITIES IN GOMBE STATE NIGERIA

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