ANEEJ Backs ECOWAS on Cleaner Fuels, Urges FG to commence regulation

BENIN CITY, January 28, 2021… The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) and lead campaigner for an end to importation of dirty fuel in Africa has commended the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for the adoption of a comprehensive set of regulations for introducing cleaner fuels and vehicles in the region.

Executive Director of Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, the Rev David Ugolor while expressing gladness at the decision of ECOWAS to commence the regulation from 1st January, 2021 called on the Nigerian government and the relevant Authorities to codify the standards in law or issue new specifications to importers and avoid shifting this new date.

“ANEEJ will like to use this opportunity to call on the Nigerian government and the relevant Authorities to codify the standards in law or issue new specifications to importers and avoid shifting this new date as this will go a long way in contributing to  cleaner air  and better health standards in Africa,” Ugolor said.

Pressures from Civil Society Organisations and other major stakeholders resulted in the decision by the ECOWAS Council of Ministers to adopt in September 2020 the 50ppm fuel and Euro 4/IV vehicle emission standard effective 1 January 2021, with refineries being given until 1st January 2025 to upgrade their facilities to produce 50 ppm fuels. At the same meeting, a fuel economy roadmap for the ECOWAS sub-region was also adopted.

It could be recalled that a Dirty Diesel report produced in 2016 by the Swiss NGO called “Public Eye” exposed how Swiss traders flood Africa with Toxic fuels, taking advantage of the weak fuel standards in Africa to produce “African Quality” fuel. The release of the report was followed by the official launching of the “stop dirty fuel” campaign simultaneously launched in different African countries and Switzerland by partners of Public Eye. The campaigns were later followed with other high-level meetings and Advocacy to ensure the Sulphur content in imported fuels was reduced.

The campaign contributed to the regional meeting organized by UNEP December 2016 where the Regional ministers including the Nigeria Hon Minister of Environment made commitment to adopt the 50ppm for imported fuels.

After missing the July 1 deadline in 2017 which was later moved to September and December 1, 2017 and nothing has been done except the review of the Nigerian Industrial standard for petroleum products by Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), March 9, 2017.

“We are particularly happy with ECOWAS’ decision to adopt a comprehensive set of regulations for introducing cleaner fuels and vehicles in the sub-region as an outcome of a long-drawn struggle to make this happen to halt the importation of harmful fuel by unscrupulous marketers into Africa.” Ugolor emphasized.

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