Social Actions and Nigerian groups organise mass rally against fossil fuel and pollution
Mass #Breakfree Actions in Ogoni, Nigeria. On the 30th of March 2017, hundreds of climate activists, as well as concerned and affected Nigerians, joined ongoing actions around the world aimed at pressing home the need to address our dependence on fossil fuels which poisons our planet and threatens to eliminate all of us. This problem is even more pungent in Nigeria where the effects of fossil fuel-related pollution and climate changes are emerging as major disasters. From sea level rises that threaten to consume whole coastal lying communities to crude oil pollutions which continue to deprive many of viable livelihoods, the continued extraction and dependence on fossil fuels has devastating consequences for Nigeria and especially the Niger Delta.
Stakeholders and communities in the Nigeria’s oil-bearing Niger Delta have urged the Buhari administration to demonstrate political will by effectively addressing the issues of oil theft and artisanal refineries in the area. Representatives of civil society organisations, traditional rulers and other community leaders, academics, oil companies and government agencies at the National Conference on Oil Theft and Artisanal Refineries in Nigeria, organised by Social Action Nigeria, in Port Harcourt, agreed that the artisanal refining of crude oil constitute the greatest immediate threat to the environment in Niger Delta today. They urged the government to deploy adequate means to address the related social and environmental problems, without criminalising community youth. Participants unanimously called for prompt and decisive steps to curb the dangers posed by illegal oil bunkering and artisanal crude oil refineries to both the region and the country’s economy.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Uncertainty 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.
Women and men from over 20 Communities in Delta State Nigeria, have charged the Nigerian government to urgently take steps to put an end to the continued degradation of their environment, rights violation and destruction of their health and livelihood sources through continued gas flaring by oil and gas companies in the area or be prepared to face strong resistance to this evil act by community men and women.
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.
. Read Full Report
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
Based on field investigations in Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers States, this report by Social Action presents the cases of illegal artisanal refineries in the Niger Delta as a more recent manifestation of the historical problem of oil theft in Nigeria, which includes the looting of public revenues from the petroleum industry. The report shows that oil theft and the artisanal refining that it enables, are twin threats to legitimate civic engagement, environmental sustainability, and the physical health and livelihoods of its operators and the people living in the Niger Delta communities. With billions of dollars in lost public revenues, crude oil theft adversely affects the socio-economic well-being of the majority of Nigerians who still live in poverty and destitution. The report highlights the need to improve the governance of natural resources and makes concrete recommendations for the government, civil society groups and affected communities. Read full report