Group seeks UN intervention on environmental violation by oil firms

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Environmental Rights Action/Friends of Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) on Friday urged United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) to intervene on environmental violations by multinational oil firms in the country.

It also called on the commission to evolve a mechanism to check environmental degrading practices by the oil firms.

The Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Dr Godwin Ojo, said this at the commemoration of Global Day of Action against Chevron in Yenagoa.

Ojo said that “International Anti-Chevron Day’’ was organised simultaneously in 15 countries to draw attention to ecological damages caused by the operations of the American oil firm.

According to him, UNHRC should ensure a uniform global legally binding mechanism to put an end to environmental crimes and hold multinational oil firms accountable wherever they operate.

Ojo alleged that presently the oil firms exploited the poor regulatory framework in many countries to degrade the environment and commit ecological crimes.

Also, Mr Iniruo Wills, Bayelsa Commissioner for Environment, noted that the government was seeking ways of resolving the conflict between Chevron and the communities impacted by the rig explosion.

According to him, government has taken steps to bring the aggrieved communities, the oil industry regulator and officials of Chevron to the negotiation table.

Wills said that though the state sees oil firms operating within its domain as partners, the welfare of its citizens remained paramount.

He advised the communities against false and frivolous claims as it discredits the cases of those with genuine claims.

The commissioner assured that the state government would continue to support the communities affected by the Chevron rig explosion in its quest for compensation from the oil firm.

He said the regulatory institutions were not adequately empowered to enforce environmental standards, adding that international oil firms exploited this loophole to the detriment of the environment. (NAN)

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