Activists solicit legislation to hold divesting IOCs in Niger Delta to account

Activists with the Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has called on the Legislators to subject divesting international oil companies operating in Nigeria to a legislative action that would compel them to address the issues of environmental and human right abuses.

The activists said they have lost the right to simply divest in Nigeria, as they cannot be allowed to leave the communities they have abused in such deplorable manners.

They also called for the establishment of an environmental restoration fund, to tackle the issues of environmental pollution before proposals for divestment are concluded. 

ERA/FoEN Executive Director, Chima Williams, in a statement signed by the Communication Officer, Elvira Jordan, and sent by mail on Wednesday stated this during webinar discussion with the theme “Time for a legislative Pathway on IOC Divestment in the Niger Delta”.

He called on the National Assembly to start a legislative process that will hold IOCs accountable for the environmental damages they have caused.

Williams stated that the divesting IOCs are not totally leaving Nigeria as they want the public to believe, but are only moving their operations offshore where their operations cannot be monitored and their environmental crimes can remain hidden.

According to him, ERA/FoEN is leading the campaigns against IOC divestments in the Niger Delta in its current form, due to the impacts of oil exploration on the local people in host communities, even as he added that ancestral lands have been taken away from the people, waters polluted, farmlands destroyed and livelihoods eroded in these communities, subjecting them to untold poverty. 

Also speaking at the meeting, the Executive Director of Socio-Economic Research and Development Center (SERDC), Tijani  Abdulkareem drew attention to the euphoria about the discovery of oil in Bauchi and Gombe States, revealing that tensions are already building up in the local communities, as they bicker over where the oil is actually located.