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War Cry In Nigeria Over Offshore Fossil Fuel

War Cry In Nigeria Over Offshore Fossil Fuel

COMMUNITY groups in the Niger Delta, Nigeria's polluted oil and gas region, are currently bracing to rise in a sustainable protest against oil exploration and exploitation in the area. They are being galvanized by Environmental Rights Action (ERA), a foremost environmental rights advocacy group in the country.

They are therefore, calling for no new licences for offshore oil exploration and exploitation activities to be granted to local or international oil companies. They equally want oil companies currently operating in their country put in place real-time and modern metering system to avoid ongoing  oil theft which robs the Nigerian people of billions of dollars in oil revenues.

These are some of the resolutions at an intensive workshop on Environmental Training and Capacity Building for Civil Society Groups on Offshore Oil Drilling, its Impact on Lives and Livelihoods and Channels for Engagement. The workshop which took place in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, was organized by ERA. It brought together over 45 participants including environmentalists, representatives of communities,  women groups, the academia, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), government agencies, and the media.

AkanimoReports gathered that the objective of the workshop was to raise CSOs awareness and consciousness on offshore oil explorations issues and to sensitize them on how to respond to the impact of such activities on marine life and coastal communities.

The workshop had presentation on the following: Research Report on Offshore Oil Exploration and Drilling; and Experience Sharing on Offshore Oil Spill Monitoring.

In a communique that was wired to us on Sunday, signed by Godwin Uyi Ojo, the Executive Director of ERA, participants at the workshop made these observations that the impact of oil extraction is severe on the environment and threatens sources of livelihoods; NOSDRA and other government actors responsible for monitoring and enforcing regulations in the oil and gas sectors have largely failed in the discharge of their statutory responsibilities; and that although the impacts of oil extraction are visible and happening in our backyards, oil companies continue to deny responsibility for the degradation of farmlands, pollution of rivers and streams which the people depend on.

They also observed that absence of effective metering systems by the corporations in Nigeria has deepened confusion on the actual volume of oil produced in Nigeria. A direct result of this is that there is no accountability and transparency in the oil industry; offshore oil exploration and exploitation now accounts for 40% of Nigeria’s oil and gas activities but is also fraught with more dangers and devastating environmental and livelihood implications; civil society groups are still largely in the dark and have poor capacity on  issues relating to offshore oil monitoring; and that offshore oil exploration and exploitation in Nigeria is a major contributor to climate change.

Arising from the foregoing, the workshop accordingly recommended that: Oil companies should publish what they pump; no new licences for Offshore oil exploration and exploitation activities be granted to local or international oil companies; that oil companies currently operating in Nigeria put in place real-time and modern metering system to avoid ongoing  oil theft which robs the Nigerian people of billions of dollars in oil revenues; all existing laws on oil extraction should be reviewed and amended to reflect the sovereign ownership of the land and the natural resources by the Nigerian people while guaranteeing strong provisions on transparency and accountability; civil society groups continue to build synergy with relevant stakeholders including community groups for the effective monitoring of offshore oil exploration and exploitation. In addition, civil society and key stakeholders should deepen interest in offshore livelihoods and environmental issues as well as campaign against increased deep water blocks; and that they should vigorously engage in advocacy targeted at the communities on the impact of offshore oil exploration and exploitation. 


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