By Davies Iheamnachor
PORT HARCOURT— Oil Watch Nigerian, OWN, a conglomeration of civil society and non-governmental organisations, has urged the Federal Government to declare ecological emergency in the oil-rich Niger Delta.
OWN also rejected divestment of onshore platforms by some International Oil Companies, IOCs, to offshore, calling on the Federal Government to review all divestments in the region.
OWN, in a communiqué at the end of its one-day strategic meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, weekend, said: “There are continuous oil and gas exploration and exploitation in Nigeria, especially in Niger Delta, where oil has been extracted for over 50 years without any sustainable benefit to communities in the region.”
The communique by Citizens Trust, CT; Environmental Rights Action, ERA; FishNet Alliance Okrika Water front, Peace Point Development Foundation, PPDF; Policy Alert, PA; Lekeh Development Foundation, LEDEF; Social Action, Niger Delta Citizens and Budget Platform, Pius Dukor Foundation, Ogoni Ecological Defenders Health of Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF, and six others, added: “The negative impact of the oil and gas industry on the people and environment of Niger Delta is life threatening and near extinction experience and thus there is need for urgent attention.”
In the communiqué, the groups said there was continued oil exploration and pollution in the region, adding that there was need for the Federal Government to declare emergency to restoret he livelihood of the people.
They said: “Due to the destructive impact of oil and gas extraction on the environment and people of Niger Delta, the Federal Government should pay more attention to environmental remediation and livelihood restoration in the area and declare the region an ecological emergency zone.”
They disclosed their resolve to work with fishermen and ecological defenders to stop activities that impact the rivers negatively.
“Oil Watch Nigeria also renounced and rejected the illegal divestment of onshore assets by international oil companies from their onshore platforms to offshore locations, and calls on the Nigerian Government to review all divestment programmes in the Niger Delta in the interest of oil companies.”