Niger Delta 64 Years After?: NDAC Demands FG Makes Destruction Of Mother Earth A Criminal Offence, Sets Agenda For FG, States Govs.

Niger Delta 64 Years After?: NDAC Demands FG Makes Destruction Of Mother Earth A Criminal Offence, Sets Agenda For FG, States Govs.

The second Niger Delta Alternatives Convergence held in Porthacourt on Tuesday 25th April 2023 with participants setting agenda for the state, Federal Government and oil companies.

In his welcome Address, the convener of NDAC, Nnimmo Bassey said

“We are hoping it will not end here. It will become regional and national event. The reoccurrence in pollution generated in Niger Delta also affects other people.

“We have also seen pollution from other country coming through water current close to us. We have to do everything within our capacity to secure our environment to ensure it is habitable.

“Primarily the NDAC is an agenda setting gathering. So that those representing us in Government must be held to account for what they promised us. We insist that things we agree here is critical to whatever plans they have.

“We have to tell those coming into power or into office of what must be done. Things are still the way they are 64 years ago. We have different Government agencies at different times, the agencies may have tried but they have not addressed the issues affecting the Niger Delta region such as pollution. “We demand immediate audit of Niger Delta in areas of health, livelihood, impacted territories etc.

“We also demand that our Government draw up clear road map for diversity. We believe there should be comprehensive solution against artisan refinery. Oil theft must be stop.

“Legislators should remove sections in PIA act that holds community accountable for oil theft. We demand immediate release of forensic audit of NDDC. We also demand flood response mechanism to address reoccurring floods.

“We should have zero tolerance for abandoned project. When people come into office they have to learn to complete project that were started by their predecessors. Nigeria Government should make destruction of mother Earth a criminal offence”.No description available.

In his address, His Royal Majesty (HRM) Suanu Baridam said “We are part of our problem. If someone appoints you and you are asked to do what is not supposed to be done, you are supposed to resign.

“Civil Societies has a lot of work to do. We are in a situation to be wiped out by what God gave to us. We must drop a statement not just to drop a statement must to pursue it and deal with the issues that confront us as a people”

In his speech Ken Robinson, spokesperson for the Pan Niger Delta Forum(PANDEF) said “the problem arises when there are discordant tunes. I am pleased with this event.

“The issue of flooding has been raised. The flooding as projected by NIMET is coastal flooding due to rise in sea level. Some Local Government Areas we be affected by coastal flooding.

“We should amplify the need for our people to be vigilante and our Government to get ready for remediation. We need to alert our Government to ensure there are plans to contain the situation”.

Professor Sofiri Peterside speaking on key note address “Looking Back And Thinking Forward :Imperatives Of A New Niger Delta Agenda said

“The objectives of the convergence is to provide platform were peculiar concerns of Niger Delta People on front burner of National discuss will be addressed.

“It is pertinent to recall that Niger Delta region despite oil and gas deposit, exploration of oil and gas has brought conflict, impoverishment, pollution of environment .

“Oil production has damaging effect on oil bearing communities. We are approaching the end of fossil fuels hence the need to think about diversification .

“Diversement means running away from the responsibility by oil companies. For instance the ones on offshore they run away from their Corporate Social Responsibility. .Government holds the view that community where oil is extracted from do not have capacity to direct their affairs which is untrue.

“The platform provides us opportunity to interrogate issues. How do we make our people to be part of this considering the level of poverty in some communities.

“We need to step down the conversation in the language they understand. We have a lot to do “.

The Panel discussion also looked at

Framing Niger Delta into the National Conference: Opportunities and Strategies

After 64 years of oil extraction with devastating environmental, livelihood and human rights impacts, the three largest transactional oil companies operating in Niger Delta, Shell, ExxonMobil, Agip and Total have announced plans to sell off their assets, move into deeper waters or simply leave the region.

The planned divestment of oil companies has been reinforced by global bent towards a shift from fossil fuels. In July 2021, European Union unveiled plans for a radical shift from fossil fuels including the end sales in the European Union of new fossil powered vehicles in 14years and increased the cost of using fossil fuels.

These above are really disturbing because the Niger Delta people have no direct benefit of the proceeds of oil extraction for the past 6 decades. The Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) has left us more confused than before, therefore we lend our voice to the demands in the Niger Delta Manifesto for Socio Economical Justice to be attended to without delays.

Earlier, Ken Henshaw the moderator for the event read out the demands in Niger Delta Manifesto for Social Justice which include an immediate and comprehensive audit of entire Niger Delta region and should cover environmental, livelihood, health, social and economic impacts of crude oil and gas extraction.

Divestment framework for oil companies, oil company and their partners should develop framework to guide their pipelines, provide definite deadline for gas flaring by oil company amongst others.

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