State of Open Budgets in Five States of the Niger Delta

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This new Social Action briefing presents findings of research into the extent to which 5 states of the Niger Delta- Akwa Ibom, Delta, Rivers, Edo and Bayelsa- operate their fiscal processes in line with the principles of open budget. It equally examines how citizens in these states relate with and perceive government and its officials on fiscal matters.

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THE CROSS RIVER SUPERHIGHWAY: Route to Land Grabs?

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The Cross River basin in south-eastern Nigeria contains the largest remaining natural rainforests in Nigeria. Most of the forests have been protected by the government and through community initiatives. However, a new Super-Highway project by the government of Cross Rivers State could open up the forest to more land grabs for property speculation, commercial agriculture and logging. This briefing paper examines how the road construction is violating the livelihood rights of several forest dependent communities whose rights to land and access to the forests for food, medicine and energy is being threatened. The Super-Highway also calls to question the viability of the controversial United Nations-backed Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD+) scheme in Cross Rivers State. Read Full Report

POLICY OPTIONS FOR ADDRESSING ARTISANAL CRUDE OIL REFINERIES AND POLLUTION IN NIGERIA

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This briefing paper by Social Action highlights the challenges of addressing the enormous environmental and social costs of artisanal crude oil refineries and related crude oil theft in southern Nigeria. The briefing is based on a year of monitoring of artisanal refining sites and the responses of government agencies and the state security apparatus in Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa States. The Briefing concludes that security measures have been inadequate and often compounds pollution and human rights abuses. It recommends that effective policing of the creeks should be accompanied with actions to ameliorate the problem of inadequate access to energy services, scarcity and the high cost of consumer fuels, poor environmental standards of oil and gas companies, impoverishment and youth unemployment in communities, and corruption in the security services. Read Full Report

NIGERIA AND EU’s ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT (EPA): Economic Cooperation or Economic Slavery?

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Nigeria is yet to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which is inspired by the European Union (EU) with the aim of eliminating trade restrictions between it and ECOWAS member states. Following years of secretive negotiations led by the EU, the EPA text was finalised in 2014 with promised benefits to developing countries like Nigeria including better access to EU markets and integration into a global economy. However, with negative reactions from Nigerian manufacturers, civil society actors and trade experts citing the imbalanced benefit to European producers having unfettered access to the Nigerian market over local industries, the former President, Goodluck Jonathan refused to sign the EPA. During the 49th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS, in Dakar, Senegal in June 2016, the government of Muhammadu Buhari delayed endorsing the EPA, opting instead to continue consultations with Nigerian citizens. As a contribution to the consultation process, this briefing examines the EPA in the context of the Nigerian economy and offers alternative paths for sustainable economic development. Read Full Report

Cleaning in a Vacuum: Framework Gaps in the Implementation of the UNEP Report on Ogoniland

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On Thursday June 2, 2016, the Nigerian federal government organized a ceremonial launching of the clean-up and restoration of polluted sites in Ogoniland. The government used the ceremony to announce its commitment to implementing the recommendations of the United Nations Environment Programme’s  Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland report.

This briefing paper by Social Action examines developments prior to and following the flag-off ceremony. It analyses crucial processes and highlights institutional lapses that threatens to mar the entire clean-up process.

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UP IN SMOKE: Gas Flaring, Communities and Carbon Trading in Nigeria

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The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions remains a global challenge, as climate change continues to adversely impact on all parts of the world, especially in developing countries. The Kyoto Protocol of 1997 introduced carbon trading through different schemes including the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Following the Paris Agreement of 2015, a new framework will be established for the international trading of carbon credits. However, there is a danger that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will replicate the infrastructure already established for the CDM and other existing carbon trading schemes, which failed to produce positive results.

This timely report presents examples of CDM projects in Nigeria to show that international trading of carbon credits fall short of the sustainability criteria. Through an examination of the impacts of two so-called gas flaring reduction projects by oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, this report shows that the global carbon trading system is flawed and subject to manipulation by the same companies that are responsible for pollution in the global south. These companies exploit the CDM mechanism to make unjustified extra profit while not accounting for real emissions reductions. Meanwhile, the carbon market discountenances the demands for environmental justice by the communities that have borne the real cost of historical pollution. Read Full Report

Whose Burden? Examining The Growing Public Debt Crisis In Nigeria

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A new report by Social Action has revealed that Nigeria was fast re-entering the debt trap few years after it controversially exited the Paris and London Clubs debt overhang with payments amounting to over $14 billion in 2005.

The report “WHOSE BURDEN? EXAMINING THE GROWING PUBLIC DEBT CRISIS IN NIGERIA” launched in November 2015 in Abuja, shows a rapid rise in the country’s debt profile between 2006 and 2015. It revealed that government at both the federal and state levels have within this period acquired several loans to purportedly fund both capital and recurrent expenditure items. The report disclosed that the loans were effectively compromising the development of the country with a large percentage of the country’s budget and resources dedicated to debt servicing.

The report which revealed massive gap between loans acquired and actual projects  executed identified fiscal excesses by public officials, poor planning and management, over-reliance on statutory allocation amongst others as some of the reasons for the dire financial situation of both the federal and sub-regional governments in the country.

It urged the National Assembly to immediately place a moratorium on all external borrowings while it conducts a full audit of the previous loans acquired to establish their usage as well as take other measures it recommended to shield Nigeria from the debt trap

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Budget Monitoring: Implementation of the 2015 Budget of Rivers State

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BANISHED FOR OIL: The Untold Stories of Environmental Exiles of Ogoniland exposes ongoing displacement and forced migration resulting from oil pollution in Ogoniland. The report presents the untold stories of the members of Bue-Leh and Busuu communities in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, Niger Delta region of Nigeria who have all deserted their homes for almost a decade following oil spills, explosions and fires from installations of the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).

With the clean-up of Ogoniland as recommended by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) yet to commence, Social Action is publishing this story to raise awareness about the worsening state of Ogoni environment and the need for immediate actions from the government and all responsible parties to address the clean-up of the environment and the resettlement and compensation of displaced community members.  Read Full Report

Amended 2012 PIB: Opportunities and Limitation for the Environment and Development

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First introduced in 2008, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) is Nigerian government’s effort to enact a single legislation to address the legal, fiscal and regulatory frameworks governing the oil and gas industry. Following controversies and uncertainties surrounding earlier versions, the executive arm of government introduced a revised PIB to the National Assembly in 2012. Following responses from interest groups including Social Action and other civil society and community groups that demanded for better provisions to address the impacts of oil and gas on local communities and the overall growth and development of the country, legislators have introduced some amendments to the Bill. This Briefing Paper by Social Action explores those amendments to determine strengths and makes recommendations to address areas of weakness.. Read Full Report