Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State inspecting the Garrison Junction flyover project in Port Harcourt. Picture by the Rivers State government-owned newspaper, thetidenewsonline.com
Administrations at the federal, state and local governments always come with new policies, developments and changes intended to showcase its performance in providing the dividends of democracy to the citizens. However, despite numerous infrastructure and development projects embarked upon by the federal, state and local governments areas (LGAs), Nigerian citizens have seen crumbling public infrastructures as successive administrations do not adequately maintain projects.
The administration Chief Barrister Ezenwo Nyesom Wike in Rivers State has embarked on several commendable infrastructure projects, especially in road construction. In the past months, the state has witnessed the commencement of three new flyovers in ObioAkpor and Port Harcourt City Local Government Areas (LGAs). These include the Oro Abali flyover (Garrison Junction), which has been completed and commissioned, the Okoro Nundo flyover (Rumuokoro), and the Artillery Flyover as part of other numerous urban renewal constructions ongoing in Rivers State.
Social Action led concerned CSO and host communities to make representation at the Public Hearing on the PIB at the Media Centre of the National Assembly Complex, Abuja
Introduced in 2008 at the Federal Government’s instance, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) now has a reputation for being one of the oldest and most contentious bills in Nigeria’s legislative history. Corruption, bad politics and deeply vested interests have all combined to ensure that the bill remains a miscarriage. It is a bill that is promoted as one that would sanitise the petroleum industry in Nigeria, improve benefits to the national economy and address the environmental and social costs borne by host communities. However, since its introduction 13 years ago, the bill has suffered several unfortunate and avoidable setbacks. That is why there was heightened expectation when the Muhammadu Buhari government reintroduced the PIB as an executive bill to the 9thNational Assembly, which promised to speedily pass the bill into law by the second quarter of 2021.
In line with its standing orders and house rules, the National Assembly announced a public hearing on the bill. The public hearing was expected to provide an avenue for public input into the bill and capture all the concerns by different interests. Public hearings, organised as part of the law-making process, enable the coalescing of recommendations from critical stakeholders to enable legislators to produce legislation that best serves the national interest, which cannot be divorced from citizens’ good.
The Muhammadu Buhari government submitted the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in late 2020 to the National Assembly as a revision of previous versions by the Umaru Musa Yar’dua and Goodluck Jonathan administrations. This briefing paper shows that, as proposed, the PIB 2020 is inadequate to address the environmental, human rights and livelihoods concerns of host communities, as the Executive Bill focuses more on production and commercial viability of the industry.
While Nigeria records the highest and unacceptable levels of crude oil spills globally, and the country is among the worst in gas flaring globally, the PIB 2020 fails woefully in addressing these issues. There is no clear provision for addressing environmental pollution and sanctioning polluters. The Bill fails to introduce any new measures to encourage the elimination of routine gas flaring. The PIB 2020 disempowers federal and state environmental agencies from the monitoring and enforcement of environmental regulations in the petroleum industry. Read more
Text of a Press Briefing by Social Action and Key Civil Society Organisations
Thursday, January 28, 2021
Abuja, FCT, Nigeria
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, we have organised this briefing to call public attention to major flaws in the federal government’s proposals in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), and our concerns about the manner the National Assembly has managed the Public Hearings on the Bill. Like most Nigerians, we believe that a new set of laws are necessary to govern the petroleum industry in Nigeria. However, the PIB’s proposals, as it is, would promote environmental impunity in the oil industry and exacerbate social dislocation in the oil-bearing communities in the Niger Delta.
Ongoing violence and conflict are at the core of some of the vilest human rights violations all over the world. In Northeast Nigeria, the Boko Haram violence has resulted in the killing of tens of thousands of people and the displacement of millions. This report captures the experienced of women and other vulnerable people that were forced to flee their homes in Borno State, and the human rights abuses and indignities that they continue to suffer under displacement. The report calls attention to the need to address the human rights of people as part of humanitarian intervention. Read Full Report
The State of the Nation
2020 has been a momentous year for Nigeria. First, the COVID-19 global pandemic further exposed the fragility of the country’s socio-political foundations. The state proved unable to respond to the needs of its citizens at a time of crisis. Secondly, the #EndSARS protests were the largest in the history of Nigeria. Youth-led mobilisations in Nigerian cities and globally expressed the outrage of the people against a failed system. The response of the Nigerian government to the popular and peaceful protests was reminiscent of the dark days of military dictatorship. We are, again witness to an escalation of state impunity and brazen disrespect for the rule of law and human rights in our country, as exemplified by the repression and attacks on #EndSARS protesters, the #Lekki killings, the Oyigbo massacre of civilians by men of the Nigerian military. The continuing trials and restrictions on the movement of Omoyele Sowore, and other activists and journalists, and fragrant disrespect and disregard for court orders and judicial pronouncements show shrinking civic and political spaces, which exacerbate a general state of insecurity and palpable tension in Nigeria at time of worsening social and economic conditions for most citizens.
More Nigerians are sinking into poverty than in any other country in the world. Almost one hundred million Nigerians are now living in extreme poverty even as the political elite and their cronies continue to profiteer from public resources. Over a million Nigerians are living in IDP camps as a result of violent conflicts. In the Boko Haram war in the northeast, incessant bandit killings in the northcentral, the Biafra secessionist agitations, kidnappings across the country, extrajudicial killings by men of the Nigerian Police, massive and ongoing corruption, enormous unemployment, we see overwhelming evidence of a Nigeria state in deep crisis.
Today, after more than twenty-one years of civil rule, more than ever, Nigeria is witnessing the worst period in its history with a glaring collapse of governance structures across the land. This, therefore, is a time for democracy defenders and concerned citizens to intervene to rescue Nigeria. The Conveners of the Nigeria Pro-Democracy Conference believe in the imperative of civic intervention of the Pan-Nigerian character reminiscent of the 1990s pro-democracy movement in the face of the current struggle for a better Nigeria. Enduring nation-states that work for their citizens are built through the conscious will and actions of individuals and groups who envision and act, at different moments, to instil alternative national ethos and practices.
The Nigeria Pro-Democracy Conference, 2020
The Nigeria Pro-Democracy Conference is an annual event that brings together veterans of the pro-democracy movement and younger activists and serves as a platform for inter-generational dialogue. The Nigeria Pro-Democracy Conference, 2020 will enable pro-democracy activists, social justice advocates and organic scholars to examine the democratic practices in Nigeria since 1999 in the light of recent repression of the #EndSARS protest and, and to discuss options for sustaining the popular democratic movement in the country.
The government of President Muhammadu Buhari has been called upon to take certain key steps that are necessary in tackling the nation’s current stagflation and by so doing, forestall further economic decline.
A socio-economic rights group, SOCIAL ACTION, which made the call in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital in a release in response to recent inflation figures made public by…
A non-governmental organization, Social Action, says Nigeria’s over-reliance on oil caused another recession.
Lillian Akhigbe, Communications Manager, in a statement on Thursday, noted that successive governments at all tiers neglected Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs)…
The recent announcement by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that Nigeria has fallen into an economic recession portends that the nation’s economy contracted in the last two quarters of the year spanning April to September, 2020. The second quarter (April – June) witnessed a decline in gross domestic product (GDP) growth by -6.10%, while in the third consecutive…
The recent announcement by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that Nigeria has fallen into an economic recession portends that the nation’s economy contracted in the last two quarters of the year spanning April to September, 2020. The second quarter (April – June) witnessed a decline in gross domestic product (GDP) growth by -6.10%, while in the third consecutive quarter (July – September), the GDP further shrunk by -3.62%. The news of the country’s slide into economic recession has elicited reactions from stakeholders across the country. The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed in her response, stated that, “While the economy entered into recession in the third quarter (July – September, 2020), the trend of the growth suggests that this will be a short-lived recession and indeed by the fourth or, at worst, the first quarter of 2021, the country will exit recession”.