Divestment: HEDA, CSOs submit joint report on Niger Delta environmental crisis

Oil spill

By Stanley Onyeka, Lagos

HEDA Resource Centre, Nigeria, along with some international Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have drawn lawmakers’ attention to the grave issue of environmental genocide inflicted upon communities of the Niger Delta due to relentless oil and gas exploitation.

This is contained in a comprehensive joint reported submitted to the Public Hearing on Environmental Damages in Oil Producing Communities hosted by the House of Representatives’ Joint Committee on Environment, Petroleum Resources Upstream, Petroleum Resources Downstream, and Climate Change.

In a statement in Lagos yesterday, the group said the submission underscored urgent concerns regarding the environmental crisis in the Niger Delta.

Among the coalition are ReCommon, Italy; Hawkmoth, The Netherlands; and Corner House Research, United Kingdom.

The statement said the 10-page report was signed by Olanrewaju Suraju for HEDA Resource Centre, Antonio Tricarico of ReCommon, Simon Taylor of Hawkmoth, and Nicholas Hildyard of Corner House Research.

The report scrutinised the role of the International Oil Companies (IOCs) in perpetuating environmental degradation in the Niger Delta, which they insisted demands immediate, holistic, participatory, and decisive actions.

Accordingly, they raised an alarm regarding their proposed divestments from onshore oil licences and cautioned that “The international oil companies should not be permitted to evade their obligations to remediate the legacy of pollution, regardless of its origins.”

They added that “Environmental damages must be thoroughly assessed, and funds must be secured in escrow to ensure the full coverage of cleanup costs.”

Environmental damages must be thoroughly assessed, and funds must be secured in escrow to ensure the full coverage of cleanup costs.

Indeed, they insisted that no divestment should proceed without a comprehensive consultation with the local communities.

In this regard, the coalition urged the Joint Committee to recommend empowering relevant agencies like the NUPRC to enforce regulations governing divestment and accountability by the oil operating companies.

Already, the NUPRC has embarked on a road show to woo investors to buy the 19 oil blocks put up for sale in an upcoming bid round, which also include the assets being divested by the IOCs.

The group also called for the establishment of legally enforceable measures to remediate polluted areas and companies’ fidelity to decarbonisation plans.

To ensure compliance with these critical actions, they advocated for the establishment of a parliamentary monitoring committee, saying: “This committee would serve to oversee and uphold the cleanup process while ensuring the accountability of all stakeholders.”

The CSOs reaffirmed their commitment to providing further information and offering insights to support legislative oversight and investigative efforts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous Post

SERAP, BudgIT, others sue CBN over cybersecurity levy

Next Post

IMF cautions against weakening CBN’s autonomy

Related Posts