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Cablegate: Nigeria: Delta State Nddc & National Oil Spill

VZCZCXRO3918
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHOS #0249/01 1921452
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 101452Z JUL 08
FM AMCONSUL LAGOS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0007
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH AFB UK
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHMCSUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEWMFD/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 LAGOS 000249

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - HANDLE ACCORDINGLY
SIPDIS

DOE FOR GPERSON, CHAYLOCK
TREASURY FOR DFIELDS, AIERONIMO, RHALL
DOC FOR 3317/ITA/OA/KBURRESS
STATE PASS USTR FOR AGAMA
STATE PASS USAID FOR GWEYNAND AND SLAWAETZ

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL SENV EPET ECON NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: DELTA STATE NDDC & NATIONAL OIL SPILL
AGENCY DISCUSS CHALLENGES, SUCCESS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED; HANDLE ACCORDINGLY

1. (SBU) Summary: A Delta State Niger Delta Development
Commission (NDDC) representative told Poloff on May 6 that
state NDDC offices are now empowered to create a due process
mechanism similar to that adopted by the national office in
Port Harcourt. Delta State's three large road construction
projects are useful, but smaller school, road, and
canalization projects are most needed by communities at the
present time. National Oil Spill Detection and Response
Agency (NOSDRA) representatives told Poloffs on May 6 that
their organization works closely with international oil
companies and communities to assess and advise on the clean
up of oil spills in the Niger Delta, and plans to work with
state oil producing area development commissions (OPADECS).
End Summary.

---------------------------------------
Delta NDDC "Succeeds" at Small Projects
---------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Dr. Evelyn Urhobo, the Delta State Niger Delta
Development Commission (NDDC) coordinator, told Poloffs on
May 6 that she was exasperated by NDDC critics' claim that
the Commission's budget is a secret; she said incoming funds
and project information is published. (Note: Upon request we
received a list of over 349 projects in Delta State which
shows each project's contract sum, contractor, project
description, duration, and current status. End Note.) Urhobo
said 245 billion naira (USD 2 billion) has been withheld from
the NDDC by the GON; the authorization for the funds has now
expired, and the Federal Government can no longer issue them
to the NDDC. The national NDDC office based in Port
Harcourt, Rivers State, created a due process office last
year, Urhobo said, and individual state NDDC offices can now
do so as well.

3. (SBU) Although the NDDC has been criticized for having
failed to complete many large projects, Urhobo said, it is
important to remember that until a year ago, the NDDC had no
master plan from which to work. As a result, the NDDC
completed an assortment of uncoordinated projects. The
master plan now clearly maps out the projects which will be
undertaken. Urhobo said the Delta State NDDC commissioned
over thirty projects in early May. Among these were road and
canalization projects in the riverine areas as well as rural
electrification, for which NDDC will use generators until
these communities can be linked to the national grid. The
communities have trouble affording the fuel to run the
generators, Urhobo admitted, but local governments, which are
responsible for electrification, must begin to assume
responsibility in this area.

4. (SBU) The NDDC has a poor track record at finding potable
water through its borehole projects. Drilling has been
either too deep or too shallow to find the water bed. In
those cases when the water table has been found, oil and salt
water have infiltrated the water supply, damaging the source.
The national NDDC office has appointed a special committee
of experts to look into the problem and determine how better
to deliver water to the communities. The NDDC may consider
treating water at borehole sites, Urhobo said, but this was
an expensive solution that the communities find it difficult
to maintain. (Note: Once drilled, boreholes become the
responsibility of the community to maintain. End Note)

5. (SBU) Urhobo detailed three large road projects in various
states of planning or completion. One is the 60 billion
naira (USD 500 million) Koko-Ogheya road crossing northern
Delta state and connecting inland areas to the sea; the NDDC
and Delta State Government are discussing sharing the cost of
this project. The second project is the Amadino-Escravos
road, a USD 300 million naira project and the third is the
Bomadi extension road to Forcados which is partially
completed. The Koko-Ogheya road, she noted, will link oil
producing states and provide an alternate access road to

LAGOS 00000249 002 OF 003


Lagos; planning these linkages was one of the great
achievements of the Niger Delta Master Plan. Delta State
Governor Uduaghan reportedly approached the NDDC in early May
to express his interest in beginning an NDDC governors
council to help synchronize other projects that affect more
than one State.

6. (SBU) The Delta State NDDC's crowning achievement, in
Urhobo's opinion, was the construction of a road between two
riverine communities that had never before had access to one
another. Even if people can't afford vehicles, the road
makes it easier to hike between the two communities, she
said. Urhobo also applauded the Commission's classroom
projects because they directly affect communities and draw
many children back to school. She thought schools were a
better investment and more immediately met the needs of a
community than road construction projects.

7. (SBU) Urhobo described the NDDC as an interventionist
agency that builds roads and structures (schools, hospitals,
etc.) and then turns them over to the state government, which
is responsible for employing workers and providing
maintenance for the facility. She admitted the NDDC has not
followed up to assess whether the state government has
carried out its responsibilities.

--------------------------------------------- ---
National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency
--------------------------------------------- ---

8. (SBU) On May 6 Poloffs also met Benjamin Akindele,
Assistant Director of the Warri Zonal Office of the National
Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) which covers
Edo, Ondo and Delta states. (Note: NOSDRA's eastern zonal
office in Port Harcourt covers Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom
states. End Note.) Akindele said NOSDRA is responsible for
preventing, detecting and responding to oil spills. Akindele
explained that NOSDRA is most often first notified of oil
spills by international oil companies (IOCs), who contain the
spill, until NOSDRA conducts a joint investigation with
communities.

9. (SBU) The Director noted that more than 90 percent of
spills are caused by communities. Therefore it is imperative
communities learn to respect their environment instead of
willfully damaging pipelines for economic gain, he said. He
noted that the IOC's historical practice of compensating
communities for oil spills has taught communities that the
larger the spill, the greater the compensation. However, now
it is NOSDRA that determines the cause of the spill and who
was responsible (equipment failure, accident, community
bunkering, etc.) and then develops an appropriate response.

10. (SBU) The Director criticized the Ondo, Edo, and Delta
State oil producing area development commissions (OPADECs)
for failing to stop or even to try to change community
opinions towards pipeline damage. The Director said he hopes
to work with the OPADECS in the future. Illegal oil
bunkering offers financial incentives to the region's
indigenes and youth who otherwise have no source of income.


11. (SBU) NOSDRA's overall assessment of the region was that
the health of Niger Delta citizens is worsening because of
the increasing frequency of oil spills. He noted that youth
are eager to be employed during cleanup projects. If
additional employment opportunities are offered them, there
are likely to be fewer spills, he said.

12. (SBU) Comment: That NDDC has had funds withheld is only
a partial explanation for the agency's failure to develop the
Niger Delta. However, historically, the institution has been
rife with corruption and problems with incomplete projects.
Although some of the effort to improve NDDC is noteworthy,
the organization needs more transparency and oversight. On
the plus side, NOSDRA's desire to work more closely with oil

LAGOS 00000249 003 OF 003


producing development commissions may help improve
cooperation between the myriad of government agencies
operating in the Delta. End Comment.

13. (U) This cable has been cleared by Embassy Abuja.
BLAIR

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