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Justice Nwafor

Ikeja, Nigeria
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About Justice
Justice Nwafor is an award-winning freelance journalist, editor and content writer. His reports have been published on multiple platforms, including the BBC, SciDevNet, HumAngle, Earth Journalism Network, International Policy Digest, Nigerian Tribune, Ripples Nigeria, etc. His works have received awards. The most recent honour came in August 2023 from the Sanlam Awards for Excellence in Financial Journalism in South Africa, where one of his works was recognized as the best in the Business and Environment category.
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English Igbo
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Feature Stories Content Writing Research
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Business Finance Science & Environment
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Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry combats poverty through compassionate presence

How lockdown in Nigeria relies on fossil fuel generators

24 Apr 2023  |  climatecorrespondent.substack.com
Justice Nwafor, a journalist from Nigeria, discusses the increased reliance on fossil fuel generators during the COVID-19 lockdown in Nigeria due to the unstable electricity supply from the national grid. The article highlights the environmental and health hazards of generator use, as well as the economic impact, with Nigerians spending $14bn annually on generators. The piece also touches on the government's attempt to ban generator imports and the potential of solar energy as a cleaner alternative, despite the high initial costs. The article suggests that investments in clean energy could help reduce dependence on the national grid and fossil fuel generators, improving air quality in Nigerian homes.

COVID-19 disruptions to TB treatment in Nigeria: The case of Imo State

05 Apr 2023  |  Tribune Online
The article by Justice Nwafor discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tuberculosis (TB) patients in Imo State, Nigeria. The pandemic's containment efforts overshadowed other health challenges, leading to TB patients like Augustine Chukwuma facing difficulties in accessing treatment. Movement restrictions prevented patients from getting their medication, and health workers faced challenges in delivering care. The WHO's emergency declaration and Nigeria's lockdown measures significantly disrupted TB treatment and control efforts. The National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) and partners like KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation Nigeria struggled to maintain treatment continuity, leading to an increase in drug-resistant TB cases. The economic impact on patients was severe, with many losing income and facing increased treatment costs. The funding gap for TB treatment in Nigeria is substantial, with a heavy reliance on international donors. The article highlights the need for better healthcare funding and the integration of TB care into state health insurance schemes.

Nigeria’s PIB And The Missed Energy Transition Opportunity

05 Apr 2023  |  Tribune Online
The article by JUSTICE NWAFOR discusses the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by Nigeria's National Assembly and critiques its lack of a clear energy transition plan. The PIB aims to overhaul the oil and gas sector, but fails to address climate change and the global shift towards net-zero emissions. The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) had provided recommendations for the bill, which were largely ignored. The article highlights the growing investment in clean energy and the potential economic implications for Nigeria, as the country relies heavily on fossil fuel revenues. It also points out the underfunding of the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) and the National Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC), which hampers their ability to research alternative energy sources. The piece suggests that Nigeria is missing a critical opportunity to prepare for a low-carbon future, which could lead to economic challenges as the world moves away from fossil fuels.

The Santa Barbara Oil Spill: Environmental Devastation and the Plight of Indigenous Communities in the Niger Delta

05 Apr 2023  |  Tribune Online
The article by Justice Nwafor is a detailed investigation into the environmental devastation caused by oil spills in the Niger Delta, focusing on the Santa Barbara oil spill in Nembe, Bayelsa State. It highlights the plight of the indigenous communities, particularly the Nembe people, who have suffered from pollution affecting their health, livelihood, and culture. The article discusses the impact of the spill on local fishing, the loss of biodiversity, and the potential health risks from contaminated water. It also examines the response from Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company, the role of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), and the accusations of negligence and inadequate compensation. The piece includes personal stories from affected residents and comments from experts on the long-term environmental and health implications. The article is part of a three-part series supported by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network.

Neglected: Inside Oyo’s nomadic schools where pupils learn under trees, in dilapidated mud classrooms

05 Apr 2023  |  Latest Nigeria News | Top Stories from Ripples Nigeria
The article by JUSTICE NWAFOR discusses the dire state of nomadic schools in Oyo State, Nigeria, highlighting the struggles of pupils and teachers who face dilapidated infrastructure, lack of basic facilities, and dangerous environmental conditions. Despite the government's commitment to progressive education, schools like Nomadic Primary School Oke-Kaa and Oke-Maria are in a state of neglect, with students learning in mud classrooms or under trees, and teachers working without essential tools. The National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE) and Oyo-SUBEB are mentioned as responsible organizations, but funding issues and government neglect are cited as major obstacles. The article emphasizes the importance of education in rural development and the risk of perpetuating poverty due to the lack of support for these schools.

The Tin Mining Legacy: Health and Environmental Crisis in Plateau State

05 Apr 2023  |  Tribune Online
The article investigates the severe health and environmental impacts of tin mining on indigenous communities in Plateau State, Nigeria. It focuses on the experiences of local residents, like Cordelia Emmanuel, who work in illegal mining sites and face health issues due to continuous exposure to tin and other harmful substances. The article discusses the long-term effects of such exposure, including respiratory conditions, cancer, and other serious health problems. It also highlights the historical context of tin mining in the region, the current situation with artisanal miners, and the lack of effective government intervention. The study by the University of Jos on the impact of radioactive substances and heavy metals in the environment is mentioned, as well as the government's efforts to reclaim mining sites. The article concludes with a call for a tripartite approach involving the government, mining companies, and community residents to address the issue.

The Lingering Woes of Tin Mining on Plateau State's Farming Communities

05 Apr 2023  |  Tribune Online
The article investigates the long-term environmental and socio-economic impacts of tin mining on indigenous communities in Plateau State, Nigeria. Decades after large-scale mining ceased, the region still grapples with the aftermath, including soil degradation, biodiversity loss, and economic hardship. Farmers like Bung Sango face poor crop yields due to the damaged soil, while the high cost of fertilizers adds to their challenges. The Aten indigenous people, primarily farmers, are particularly affected as their cultural staple, acha, suffers. The youth are disinterested in farming, turning to other activities, including illegal mining. Studies by scientists and academics confirm the adverse effects of mining on the environment and agriculture. Despite the state government's efforts to reclaim gullies and collaborate with the World Bank's NEWMAP, many areas like Ganawuri have yet to see remediation. The article highlights the need for more effective government intervention to restore the land and support the affected communities.

Plastic waste problem is a source of income for many, but health risks are often neglected

05 Apr 2023  |  SciDev.Net
In Lagos, Nigeria, the plastic waste problem is not only an environmental hazard but also a source of income for individuals like Abubakar Sani, who collect and sell polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. Companies like HISL Recyclers and Eco Viridis are working to improve recycling efforts, offering cash for waste to encourage public participation. Despite the establishment of 26 plastic recycling plants by the government and initiatives like Blue Box, the majority of recyclables still end up in landfills. Lagos generates a significant portion of Nigeria's plastic waste, exacerbated by population growth and consumption patterns. Recyclers often prioritize PET due to its higher value, which poses health risks due to toxic chemicals. The article suggests that more integrated waste recovery models and legal frameworks are needed across Africa to address the issue effectively.

Abandoned Water Project

03 Apr 2023  |  Latest Nigeria News | Top Stories from Ripples Nigeria
Investigative journalist Justice Nwafor reports on the abandonment of multimillion naira water projects in Oyo State, Nigeria, which were initiated by the late Governor Abiola Ajimobi's administration to benefit over 40 villages. Despite substantial funds being released to contractors, including Aremol Ventures, Roosco Resources Nigeria Limited, Eurobel International Limited, Epignosis Nigeria Limited, and Arifix Nigeria Limited, the projects remain incomplete, with no recent work evident. The Oyo State Water Corporation was responsible for supervising these projects. The article highlights the plight of local residents who continue to lack access to clean water and the failure of the current state government to follow through on these initiatives. The report also uncovers issues with contractor legitimacy and the state government's website listing the projects as ongoing despite clear evidence of abandonment. The report is supported by the McArthur Foundation and the International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

How clean cooking helps the climate

01 Apr 2023  |  www.bbc.com
The article discusses the impact of traditional cooking methods on health and the environment in Nigeria, where a majority of the population relies on wood, charcoal, and other biomass fuels. This reliance contributes to deforestation and CO2 emissions, with significant health risks due to household air pollution. Nigeria's climate pledges, including a commitment to net-zero emissions by 2060, are examined, as well as the challenges and potential solutions for transitioning to clean cooking methods. The Clean Cooking Alliance and other organizations are working to promote clean cooking technologies, but cultural preferences, high costs, and low household incomes pose obstacles. The article also explores the role of natural gas and renewable energy in Nigeria's energy mix, the rising cost of LPG, and the potential for electric cooking in the context of Nigeria's electrification efforts.

Climate Change and Its Impact on Indigenous Communities in Nigeria's Niger Delta

01 Apr 2023  |  Tribune Online
The article by JUSTICE NWAFOR focuses on the severe impacts of climate change on indigenous communities in Nigeria's Niger Delta, particularly in Akwa Ibom State. It highlights the story of Grace Daniel and her family, who lost their home and livelihood due to sea level rise and river bank erosion. The report details the consistent rise in sea levels over the past century and the predictions for future increases, emphasizing the vulnerability of Nigeria's low-lying coastline. It also discusses the cultural implications of environmental changes, such as the destruction of sacred shrines and the erosion of Ijaw cultural heritage. The community's efforts to adapt, including building makeshift embankments, are mentioned, as well as the temporary relief provided by NEMA. The article underscores the need for government intervention, such as constructing concrete embankments, to protect communities like Emereoke from future climate-related disasters. The story is part of a series supported by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network.

Poor funding, from 2012 to 2018, has affected Nigeria’s healthcare system

01 Apr 2023  |  Tribune Online
The article by Justice Nwafor investigates the state of Nigeria's healthcare system, focusing on the impact of poor funding from 2012 to 2018. Despite the Abuja Declaration in 2001, where African heads of state, including Nigeria, agreed to allocate at least 15% of their annual budgets to health, Nigeria has consistently fallen short. The report highlights the struggles of individuals like Rebecca Oluokun, who faced challenges during childbirth due to inadequate healthcare facilities. The article also discusses the unpreparedness of Nigeria for the COVID-19 pandemic, as warned by the WHO in 2017. The investigative report reveals that the Nigerian government has not released the full budgeted amounts for health, leading to deficits in healthcare services and infrastructure. The situation is exemplified by the conditions at Samuel Adegbite Memorial Hospital and Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, where outdated equipment and lack of funding have hampered operations. The article concludes that the lack of prioritization of healthcare by the Nigerian government has led to a weak healthcare system, affecting the country's response to health emergencies like COVID-19.

Poor funding, from 2012 to 2018, has affected Nigeria’s healthcare system

01 Apr 2023  |  Tribune Online
The article by Justice Nwafor investigates the state of Nigeria's healthcare system, focusing on the impact of poor funding from 2012 to 2018. Despite the Abuja Declaration in 2001, where African heads of state, including Nigeria, agreed to allocate at least 15% of their annual budgets to health, Nigeria has consistently fallen short. The report highlights the struggles of individuals like Rebecca Oluokun, who faced challenges during childbirth due to inadequate healthcare facilities. The article also discusses the unpreparedness of Nigeria for the COVID-19 pandemic, as warned by the WHO in 2017. The investigative report reveals that the Nigerian government has not released the full budgeted amounts for health, leading to deficits in healthcare services and infrastructure. The situation is exemplified by the conditions at Samuel Adegbite Memorial Hospital and Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, where outdated equipment and lack of funding have hampered operations. The article concludes that the lack of prioritization of healthcare by the Nigerian government has led to a weak healthcare system, affecting the country's response to health emergencies like COVID-19.

Rising Sea Levels and Intense Rainfall: The Plight of Emereoke Kingdom in Nigeria

15 Nov 2022  |  Earth Journalism Network
The article details the plight of the Emereoke Kingdom in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, where rising sea levels and intense rainfall have led to devastating floods. Grace Daniel, a resident, recounts losing her home and possessions to the floodwaters in 2020. The community, largely consisting of Ijaw people, has seen nearly half of its land lost to water, affecting their traditional way of life, including fishing and farming. Studies from the University of Plymouth and Climate Central highlight the catastrophic effects of even minor sea level increases on Nigerian coastal areas. The community has sought government assistance, receiving temporary relief from NEMA, but a permanent solution in the form of a concrete embankment has yet to be realized. The article emphasizes the urgent need for adaptation strategies to protect coastal communities from the impacts of climate change. The story was supported by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network and originally published by the Nigerian Tribune.

Financing The Ambazonian Dream

31 Oct 2022  |  HumAngle
The article discusses the ongoing conflict in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon, where secessionist groups like the Ambazonia Defense Forces are fighting to establish the Federal Republic of Ambazonia. Lambi, a former aspiring accountant turned fighter, is highlighted as a case study of the local population's transformation due to the conflict. The historical context of Cameroon's bilingualism and the grievances of the English-speaking minority are explored, including the declaration of secession by Julius Ayuk Tabe in 2017. The article also delves into the funding mechanisms of the separatist groups, which include diaspora donations, local taxes, and kidnapping for ransom. The environmental impact of the conflict, particularly deforestation, is also addressed. The piece underscores the complexity of the situation, the government's disarmament efforts, and the fighters' determination to continue the struggle.

Gas Flaring Devastates a Nigerian Community

11 Oct 2022  |  Earth Journalism Network
The article discusses the environmental and health impacts of gas flaring in Obrikom, a community in Nigeria's Niger Delta region. Despite the cultural richness of the indigenous Ogba people, their lives are overshadowed by the presence of the Obiafu-Obrikom gas plant operated by Nigeria Agip Oil Company, a subsidiary of Eni. The plant, which began operations in 1984, emits harmful gases and noise, leading to health issues such as respiratory disorders and cancer among the residents. Studies have shown that the flaring contributes to global warming, acid rain, and soil degradation, affecting agriculture and food security. The Nigerian government and Agip have been criticized for not doing enough to mitigate the impacts, and despite numerous deadlines, gas flaring persists. The article also touches on the broader issues of energy poverty in Nigeria and the country's failure to meet its climate targets.

Gas Flaring Devastates a Nigerian Community

11 Oct 2022  |  Earth Journalism Network
The article discusses the environmental and health impacts of gas flaring in Obrikom, a community in Nigeria's Niger Delta region. Despite the cultural richness of the indigenous Ogba people, their lives are overshadowed by the presence of the Obiafu-Obrikom gas plant operated by Nigeria Agip Oil Company, a subsidiary of Eni. The plant, which began operations in 1984, emits harmful gases and noise, leading to health issues such as respiratory disorders and cancer among the residents. Studies have shown that the flaring contributes to global warming, acid rain, and soil degradation, affecting agriculture and food security. The Nigerian government and Agip have been criticized for not doing enough to mitigate the impacts, and despite numerous deadlines, gas flaring persists. The article also touches on the broader issues of energy poverty in Nigeria and the country's failure to meet its climate targets.

Niger Delta's Nightmare: The Cost of Oil Exploration on Fishing Communities

26 Jul 2022  |  Earth Journalism Network
The article discusses the impact of a devastating oil spill from a wellhead operated by Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company on the Santa Barbara River in Nembe, Nigeria. The spill has severely affected the local fishing communities, leading to a drastic reduction in fish catch and economic hardship. The environmental pollution has also resulted in health risks and cultural dislocation among the indigenous Nembe people. Despite regulations requiring prompt reporting and response to spills, the Santa Barbara spill was reported late, and the cleanup has been inadequate. The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and the Environmental Rights Action (ERA) have been involved in assessing the situation, but there are discrepancies in the reported causes and consequences of the spill. The article highlights the broader issues of environmental justice, regulatory failures, and the challenges of achieving climate change targets in the face of ongoing oil exploration and spills in the Niger Delta.

Healthcare funding is at the heart of epidemic preparedness and response

24 Aug 2021  |  Tribune Online
The article discusses the critical issue of healthcare funding in Nigeria, particularly in the context of epidemic preparedness and response. It highlights the inadequate funding of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the overall health sector, which has hampered the country's ability to effectively respond to epidemics like Ebola and COVID-19. The article cites budget data showing that the Nigerian government has consistently failed to release the full amount allocated for health, with less than 70% of the budgeted funds being released over a seven-year period. The piece also points out Nigeria's failure to meet the Abuja Declaration's commitment to allocate at least 15% of its annual budget to healthcare. It further examines the budget allocations for healthcare in various Nigerian states, noting that most fall short of the 15% target. The article also touches on the issue of recurrent expenditures consuming a significant portion of healthcare budgets, leaving little for capital development. The journalist suggests that both federal and state governments need to increase healthcare funding and focus on developing healthcare infrastructure.

This second of a two-part investigative report on how poor funding of affected Nigeria's response to COVID-19 focused on how primary healthcare system in Nigeria has been relegated to the background and its implications for the country's rural poor.

How fire outbreaks, other production disruptions cost Nigeria 36.3 million barrels of crude in 12 months

05 Apr 2021  |  Tribune Online
The article discusses the disruptions in Nigeria's crude oil production, primarily due to armed attacks in the Niger Delta, and the significant economic impact of these disruptions. It highlights that despite a reduction in armed conflicts, other issues such as protests, power outages, equipment failures, and maintenance issues continue to cause substantial losses. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation's data shows that Nigeria lost over 36 million barrels of oil in 12 months, costing the economy around $1.8 billion. This loss is particularly significant given Nigeria's reliance on oil for revenue and foreign exchange, and it exacerbates problems such as budget deficits, poor infrastructure, and underfunded healthcare. The article suggests that improving relations with local communities and investing in infrastructure could mitigate these losses. The story is part of the NAREP Oil and Gas 2021 fellowship of the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism.

Abandoned bids damaging Nigeria’s reputation

31 Mar 2021  |  Tribune Online
The article discusses the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Program (NGFCP), initiated by Nigeria's Federal Executive Council (FEC) to eliminate gas flaring in the Niger Delta and its failure to meet the 2020 deadline. Gas flaring by oil companies has caused environmental and economic damage in the region. The NGFCP aimed to sell flared gas to firms through a competitive bidding process, with the potential to create jobs and reduce unemployment. However, the program has been delayed, with no successful firms announced long after the bidding process. This has implications for Nigeria's international reputation, commitment to climate change agreements, and the ongoing environmental damage. The delay also hinders the country's power generation potential and economic development. The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has not provided updates, and the spokesperson did not respond to inquiries.

Hydroponics farming could help reduce Nigeria’s spiraling youth unemployment rate

19 Oct 2020  |  Tribune Online
The article discusses the journey of Adebowale Onafowora, a Nigerian hydroponics farmer who has become a pioneer in soilless farming techniques in Nigeria. Hydroponics, which saves water and reduces crop water consumption by about 97%, is presented as a solution to Nigeria's heavy unemployment burden and a means to tackle post-harvest losses. Despite the challenges of acceptance and the high cost of setting up hydroponic farms, Onafowora's BIC Farms has trained over 12,000 people and established numerous farms and home gardens. The article also touches on the Nigerian government's efforts to diversify the economy through agriculture and the potential of hydroponics to mitigate the farmer-herder crisis by providing a cheaper way to feed livestock. However, the article notes the challenges of educating Nigerians about hydroponics and the political will needed to enforce changes in cattle grazing practices.

I examined how Nigeria's shaky national grid has forced millions who are working from home due to the coronavirus lockdown in the country to rely on fossil-powered electricity generators.

‘We are losing our eyes’: Inside Imo community where gas-flaring rages unchecked

13 Feb 2020  |  Tribune Online
The article discusses the severe impact of gas flaring by Addax Petroleum in Izombe, Oguta LGA, Imo State, Nigeria, on the local community of Mgbele. Residents like Learnard Onyemaize and Lazarus Anyaegbu have faced health issues, reduced crop yields, and economic hardship due to environmental pollution. Despite gas flaring being illegal for over 41 years in Nigeria, companies continue the practice, with ineffective regulation and fines that are considered too lenient. The Nigerian government's efforts, including the Flare Gas (Prevention of Waste and Pollution) Regulations, 2018, have failed to stop gas flaring, leaving residents to suffer the consequences. Research from various universities confirms the negative effects on health, agriculture, and the environment. Addax Petroleum denies any wrongdoing, stating that their operations do not cause health or environmental damage to Mgbele community.
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