Oil Theft, Artisanal Refineries; Match Your Words With Action – Niger Delta Communities, Stakeholders Charge Buhari Administration.

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Stakeholders and communities in the Nigeria’s oil rich Niger Delta have urged the Buhari administration to demonstrate laudable political will by effectively tackling/addressing the issues of oil theft and artisanal refineries in the Niger Delta.
The stakeholders who gave this charge at a one-day National Conference on “Oil Theft An Illegal Artisanal Refineries in Nigeria” organized by Social Action Nigeria, in Port Harcourt, held that crude artisanal refineries by youths in the area constitute the greatest threat to the environment in Niger Delta today and urged the government to deploy pragmatic means to curb the menace.

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Pollution and the Energy Crisis: Addressing Crude Oil Theft and Artisanal Refineries

Scorched earth from artisanal crude oil refineries near Bodo

Welcome address by the Director of Social Development Integrated Centre (Social action), Dr Isaac Osuoka, at the National Conference on Oil Theft and Artisanal Refineries, Le Meridien Hotel Ogeyi Place, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Tuesday, 21 March 2017.

Protocols

On behalf of the organisers, Social Development Integrated Centre (Social Action) and Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN), I welcome you to this National Conference on Oil Theft and Artisanal Refineries in Nigeria. We also thank the Ford Foundation and Development and Peace – Caritas Canada for supporting this conference and our work to promote resource justice in Nigeria.

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National Conference On Oil Theft And Artisanal Refineries in Nigeria

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Representatives of communities, government agencies, citizens groups, oil companies and researchers gather in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, 21 March 2017 to address ongoing ecological disaster, livelihoods and revenue losses and insecurity associated with crude oil theft and artisanal refining industries in the Niger Delta of Nigeria.

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Oil Pollution, ‘Bush Fires’ And Funerals In Ogoniland: Researching Resource Governance In The Niger Delta

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Isaac ‘Asume’ Osuoka, Director of Social Action, reflects on the challenges of researching oil pollution and resource governance in Nigeria

“Why is the mortality rate in Bodo so high?” That was a question posed by Ben Naanen, a professor of history at the University of Port Harcourt. “Every weekend, there are numerous funerals in Bodo”, he informed the group of researchers from universities, think tanks and NGOs working on resource governance issues in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.

The meeting was convened by Nigerian NGO, Social Action and other institutions to promote research collaboration. The objective of the meeting was to identify immediate research needs by examining how current politics, policies, practices and institutions related to the petroleum industry inform social and environmental impacts.

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Break Free 2017

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In March 2017, Social Action will join other organisations in two Break Free rallies in Port Harcourt and Bori, as part of the annual ‘global wave of people taking a stand against dirty energy’. In solidarity with Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Environmental Rights Action (ERA), Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), Kebetkache, Ogoni Solidarity Forum, Egi Joint Action Congress (EJAC) and other organisations, we will be “joining forces to protect communities in vulnerable situations from extreme weather, and from fossil corporations that have polluted our air, grabbed our land, and captured our governments.”

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Whose Budget Is It Anyway? From Secrecy to Openness of Civic Spaces at the Sub-National Level

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HenshawKen Henshaw, Programmes Manager of Social Action, reflects on efforts to promote public finance accountability in the states and local governments of Nigeria

In Nigeria, quite often, accountability in the management of public resources is sacrificed on the altar of cronyism. This state of affairs may be more established at the sub-national levels where about half of all public revenues in the country are expended. While there is a justified focus on the federal government and the office of the President, in particular, many citizens do not tend to pay attention to the 36 states and 774 local governments which together receive almost 50 percent of all federally collected revenues – not to mention internally generated revenues. However, the significant allocations to states and local governments from the Federation Account on a monthly basis hardly translate into real benefits for the majority of citizens. Even more worrisome is the breeding of citizens’ apathy towards sub-national governments – the local government councils, in particular. Rather than the tier of government closest to the grassroots promoting participation, what we find is alienation, which further reinforces non-accountability of public officials.

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Rivers Government Land Grabbing: Uncertainty as Ogoni Farmers Reclaim Land, Plant Cassava

Equipment abandoned by company on disputed site of banana plantation

FynefaceUncertainty pervades some Ogoni communities over ownership and access to farmlands that had been the subject of land grabbing by the Government of Rivers State.

In 2011, the government confiscated community farmlands for a private banana plantation, developed by a Mexican company. After six years of killings, human rights abuses by state security services, community resistance and legal battles, the Mexican company has abandoned the land. With a change of government in the state following elections in 2015, the company was not sure of continuous patronage. By 2016, community members had retaken the land and planted cassava and other local staples.

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Monitoring Budget Implementation By States And Local Governments

Veterinary Clinic, Lafia, Nasarawa State

Social Action is working with citizen groups to mobilise community activists towards tackling corruption at the sub-national levels of government in Nigeria.

In the last quarter of 2016, activists and volunteers connected with Social Action’s Community Budget Advocates Committees (CBACs) went around monitoring the implementation of budgets in six states of Nigeria. In Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Kano and Nasarawa States, community budget advocates in the various locales visited project sites, interviewed project beneficiaries and government officials with the aim of ascertaining whether public funds were being deployed as appropriated in the budget.

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Beyond Boko Haram: looking at the Lake Chad Basin, climate change and the ecological crisis in the Sahel

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With the Sahel region of Nigeria experiencing some of the worst forms of poverty and violence in the world, a roundtable conference organised by Social Development Integrated Centre (Social Action) will contribute to promoting awareness about the urgency of the ecological and development issues that provide a background to the crises. Academics, civil society actors, representatives of government agencies, pastoral and farming communities will meet in Abuja, the federal capital on 29 November 2016 to share insight and experiences on the theme of the conference: Addressing the Crisis of the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin: Developing a Pan-Nigerian Civil Society Agenda.

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Social Action Trains 150 in Social Activism

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As part of its Popular Education programme aimed at social awareness, building skills and creating spaces for citizens’ actions towards social change, Social Action has trained over 150 young activists on various social advocacy expertise and tools. The training took place at the Nigeria Social Action Camp 2016 which held in Benin City between 13th and 17th September 2016. 

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