by Oboh

Following the incidence of the 1,000-tonne oil spill that occurred in the coastal environment of Mauritius, Oilwatch Africa has warned that African leaders must not allow the continent to drown in crude oil.

This warning came after Mauritius’ Prime Minister, Pravind Jugnauth, declared a state of environmental emergency in Mauritius in recognition of the oil spill as an ecological disaster.

Oilwatch, a network of resistance to the impacts of fossil fuels industries on people’s and their environments, noted that at a moment in history when science has clearly shown that dependence on fossil fuel is fuelling global warming, this is not time for African nations to fix their eyes on fossil fuels as the commodities to fuel any change other than climate change.

To Nnimmo Bassey, Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF, and a Steering Committee member of Oilwatch Africa/International, the ecological disaster brought about by the running aground of a Japanese-owned ship, MV Wakashio, is a big warning to the continent.

His words: “Africa is wholly surrounded by water and is literally encircled by ships with diverse cargoes.

“Urgent steps must be taken by the African Union and in particular African countries to ensure that vessels circling the continent are seaworthy and do not have toxic wares as their merchandise.”

For Thuli Makama, member of Oilwatch Africa Steering Committee, “African governments should pay more attention to the environment and not place undue focus on vanishing petrodollars.