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Stop Double Standard Operations in Niger Delta – Environmental Rights Activist Warns Oil Companies 

Stop Double Standard Operations in Niger Delta – Environmental Rights Activist Warns Oil Companies 

…  Charges Regulators to Improve Checks on Pollution, Impunity 

By Ekemini Simon

Transnational Oil Companies operating in Nigeria’s Niger Delta have been warned to stop double operations in their exploration of oil and gas resources of the region.

The warning was passed down by an Environmental Rights Activist, Chima Williams who is the  Executive Director, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) while speaking at a webinar interactive programme tagged: “Human and Ecological Rights” organised by Community Development Advocacy Foundation (CODAF) in collaboration with the Coalition for Human Rights in Development and the Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria.

The Environmental Activist called on the operators to abide by the international guidelines in the sector which Nigeria is also signatories to by operating in the Niger Delta the exact way they operate in Europe.

Executive Director ERA/FoEN, Chima Williams.

Williams who stated that the people of the region are not asking for the oil companies to leave pointed out that Niger Delta is interested in the companies doing business with human face. 

He explained that a humane operational standard is what will make the host communities accept the companies as good corporate entities. 

The ERA/FoEN noted that if the companies want to leave, they should  not leave the host communities worse than they met, rather they must restore Niger Delta Communities back to its virgin State.  

“They want to leave us offshore to where we cannot monitor them. We are not going to allow them divest and leave us worse. As an environmental and human rights advocacy organisation, ERA will not fold its arms while this goes on,” he insisted.

Williams decried how the companies who he described as culprits set the standard for the regulators to apply thus invariably turning to the regulators.

He charged the Government agency responsible for regulating the sector to wake up and live to expectation stressing that impunity and abuse of human rights by the oil companies have been unprecedented.

On her part, Elvira Jordan, Programme Officer, CODAF, said her company’s findings show that despite laying the golden egg for the country, the majority of oil producing communities lack social amenities, adding that not a single government presence in the area.

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She decried that due to oil exploration in these communities coupled with pollution and its consequent hazard, many persons living in these communities are battling with several health challenges.

While stating that CODAF is committed to making sure these people get justice, she enjoined civil society organisations, the media and others to join in giving these people a voice with a view to making sure they get justice.

Also speaking, Tonbra Kasikoro Kilopirete, Executive Director, Women Initiative for Values Empowerment and Sustainability International  (WIVES) said the people of the riverine need enlightenment.

The ED who also doubles as National Women Leader, Movement for the Survival of the Izon Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta  (MOSIEND) said: “One thing I have discovered in my dealings with these people is that they lack enlightenment.

“Many of them do not even know their rights and when you come to assist them they see you as someone coming to trample on their rights.”

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