Recently, the conversation on the need or otherwise of restructuring the Nigerian state has gained renewed prominence in contemporary Nigerian discourse, especially with the emergence of groups seeking various degrees of structural changes, including the Indigenous People of Biafra and the Niger Delta Avengers. In response to the need to interrogate the different contending issues, Social Action and the Claude Ake School of Government, University of Port Harcourt jointly organised the Nigeria Social Action National Conference in December 2017 in Port Harcourt.
In November 2017, Social Action and partner organisation, YARAC organised citizens’ dialogues in Maiduguri and Yola as part of the ongoing effort to identify alternative solutions to social and ecological crisis in north-eastern Nigeria.
Participants comprising civil society groups, development experts, academia, governmental and non-governmental actors have identified the correction of structural imbalances embedded in the socio-economic, political and ecological configuration of north-east Nigeria as fundamental to engendering genuine and lasting development in the region. They said any effort to sustainably re-build the region must incorporate concrete mechanisms for tackling ecological issues while incorporating solid frameworks for socio-economic development and sound governance principles with active elements of citizens-focused accountability mechanisms.
In an assessment carried out by Social Action on ‘states of openness in the Niger Delta’, Edo state came out tops in the statistical analysis of open budget indices.
Social Action has congratulated the Edo State Government for ensuring that Edo State blazed the trail in the open budget process. Social Action’s message was conveyed during advocacy visits to senior government officials in Benin City on 21 July 2017. Officials visited included the Chairman, Committee on Information and Appropriation, Edo State House of Assembly, Hon. Damian Lawani, the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Edo State, Taiwo Francis Akerele and the Commissioner of Budget, Planning and Economic Development, Maryam Abubakar. Social Action’s Public Finance Accountability team included Programme Officers Prince Ekpere and Peter Mazzi and members of Edo State Open Budget Cluster.
By Omolade Adunbi
Life expectancy in the Niger Delta averages just 40 years, compared to between 53 and 55 within Nigeria as a whole. Yet, the Nigerian state and the multinational corporations operating in the Niger Delta have refused to address the historical processes that led from a ‘usable’ Niger Delta of the 1950s, to a current population of unemployed, ‘unusable’, youths castigated to the margins of Nigerian society.
Recent pronouncements on modular refineries by the federal government have ignited excitement among youths seeking legitimate employment away from artisanal refining of crude oil. However, modular refineries are neither a community development alternative nor a sustainable option for addressing widespread youth unemployment. Social Action calls for a new conversation to identify alternatives to the destructive petroleum industry.
From right to left: Doifie Buokoribo (Board member), Isaac ‘Asume’ Osuoka (Executive Director), Vivian Bellonwu-Okafor (Head of Advocacy) addressing the media at Social Action’s National Advocacy Centre, Abuja
Based on the text of the Press Conference by the Social Development Integrated Centre (Social Action), June 21, 2017, Abuja
The Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB) was passed by the Senate in May 2017 (the Federal House of Representatives is still working on the bill). Social Action has undertaken a thorough study of the PIGB. The result of our examination is contained in the briefing paper, “The Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), 2017: Implications for the Environment and Local Communities”.
In May 2017, the Nigerian Senate passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB), which is revised version of the original Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) that was presented to the National Assembly by the Yar’adua administration in 2008. This briefing paper by Social Action provides an analysis of the PIGB, which focuses almost exclusively on the creation of new commercial entities to manage privatized national petroleum assets. There is a glaring neglect of host communities’ interest in the proposed new institutions. The PIGB does not provide for health, safety and environment concerns; there is no provision for an end to gas flaring. The PIGB proposes to remove all powers of the Federal Ministry of Environment (and its agencies) over environmental regulation and enforcement in the petroleum sector. Read Full Report
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.