The National Coordinator of the Center for Peace and Environmental Justice, CEPEJ, Comrade Sheriff Mulade, has called on the Federal Government, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), and all the security agencies to not relent in the fight against oil theft and pipeline vandalism in Niger Delta.
Speaking during a press conference, in Abuja on Tuesday, January 23, he stressed the need to save Niger Delta environment from further degradation as a result of oil spills, illegal bunkering and oil theft.
He said, “We call on the NNPCL as led by its GCEO Mele Kyari as well as the combined security agencies such as the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Air Force, and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to not relent but sustain the tempo in their onslaught against oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the region.
“Over the years, the Niger Delta has borne the brunt of environmental degradation resulting from Shell’s oil and gas exploration activities. The adverse impact on the communities’ livelihoods, health, and overall well-being cannot be overstated. Consequently, we implore Mr President as the custodian of our nation’s interests, to address the following concerns:
Compensation for Environmental Damage: The communities affected by Shell’s operations in the Niger Delta region have endured severe environmental degradation. We urge your administration to ensure fair and just compensation for the irreversible damage caused to their lands, water sources, and ecosystems.
Provision for Onshore Liabilities: The proposed sale of Shell onshore assets must include stringent provisions for addressing existing liabilities. These provisions should guarantee that the new owners assume responsibility for mitigating and rectifying environmental damage and restoring the affected communities’ ecosystem.
Community Development Initiatives: Allocate a portion of the proceeds from the sale towards comprehensive community development initiatives. These initiatives should focus on sustainable projects that enhance the affected communities’ education, healthcare, infrastructure, and economic opportunities.
Transparency and Accountability: Establish mechanisms to ensure transparency and accountability in the entire process of the asset sale. The affected communities should actively participate in decision-making to safeguard their interests.”
He also asked the federal government to delay the approval of new buyers until the environmental degradation of the Niger Delta is addressed properly.
Mulade added that there is cogent need for the president to protect the sovereignty of Nigeria and ensure that its approval to the sale of SPDC onshore Assets is contingent on the adequate provision for the environment liabilities which is a clear and present danger to any future oil and gas activity in the area.
He further acknowledged that since the debut of private security firms by the NNPCL to work with other security agencies the rate of oil theft and vandalism has depreciated and the people of Niger Delta are gradually seeing a new dawn.