By Harris Emanuel
Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, leaders and communities in Niger Delta have demanded immediate and comprehensive audit of the entire oil-rich region in view of the attendant ecological damage occasioned by oil companies’ extraction activities.
According to them, the audit should cover environmental, livelihood, health, social and economic impacts of crude oil and gas extraction, and should be immediately followed by the remediation of impacted places, restoration of the human and ecological damage caused by extraction activities, and reparations for the irreversible damages caused by oil extraction.
This is part of the resolutions reached at a one-day summit in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, put together by Health of Mother Earth Foundation, HOMEF, in conjunction with other CSOs , leaders and communities in the region.
The statement at the end of the meeting by Kome Odhomor, Media/ Communication Lead, HOMEF, also urged the Federal Government to immediately produce a framework and guide on how oil companies disengage from areas where they have operated.
It noted that the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA, was inadequate to address the myriad of problems confronting the region, rather it was compounding them, calling for its immediate review by the National Assembly to provide a definite deadline for gas flaring by oil companies and eliminate powers to permit flaring, among others.
The statement also appealed to the government to provide a definite deadline for gas flaring by oil companies and eliminate powers to permit flaring.
It added: “Review gas flare fines to reflect the same amount as commercial value of natural gas in the international market, while transferring flare fines to host communities.
“Eliminate the section of the PIA that places the responsibility to protect oil installations on host communities.
“Remove the powers to establish Host Community Development Funds from the ‘settlor’ or oil companies, and bestow same on each host community.
“Immediate release to the public of the forensic audit report on the NDDC and the prosecution of all those found to have fleeced the commission. An immediate review of the NDDC Act to ensure greater accountability, prudence and participation of people in the affairs of the commission.
“That all states in the region establish special agencies for the administration of 13 per cent derivation revenues for the benefit of oil producing communities.”