Stakeholders, including traditional rulers, have attributed the intensification of environmental degradation in the Niger Delta to Western banks funding the activities of multinational oil companies engaged in oil exploration in the region.
They also criticized community leaders for compromising due to poverty and the divide-and-rule tactics employed by the oil companies.
Following a one-day roundtable meeting organized by ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) in Asaba, Delta State, stakeholders issued a communiqué highlighting the need for all multinational companies to establish a carbon gas desk.
The communiqué was signed by Mr. Andrew Mamedu, Country Director of AAN; Ms. Sonia Elohor Somuvie, representative of the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment, Senator Ned Nwoko; Dr. Chidi Nwankpa, representative of the Chairman of the House Committee on Climate Change; and Hon. Sunday Cyriacus Umeha, representative of the Chairman of the House Committee on Niger Delta. Other signatories included representatives from the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER), the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA), traditional rulers, and communities.
The stakeholders called for a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy and emphasized the need for strong penalties against oil companies found guilty of gas flaring.
Expressing disappointment that existing climate and environmental policies are not being implemented, they criticized Nigerian leaders for lacking the political will to enforce relevant laws to halt gas flaring in the Niger Delta and across Nigeria.
The stakeholders highlighted concerns over gas flaring, waste from water channels, and deforestation. They urged the enforcement of existing policies aimed at addressing the negative impacts associated with oil exploration in the Niger Delta.
Additionally, they advocated for a thorough cleanup of areas affected by oil spills in the Niger Delta and emphasized the importance of fostering positive operational relationships among community members, leaders, oil companies, and the government.
The participants also suggested that the Nigerian government must meet certain conditions to access global funds for environmental issues. They called on the government to facilitate dialogue among key stakeholders affected by oil exploration in the Niger Delta communities.
Emphasizing the significance of strong collaboration in the fight for climate and environmental justice in the Niger Delta region, the communiqué urged host communities to leverage existing laws governing multinational corporations for their benefit.