ERA/FoEN launches campaign to hold oil companies accountable.
The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), on Thursday, said that it has formally launched the Publish What Crude You Pump initiative.
This was disclosed at the 5th National Environmental Consultation with the theme ‘Corporate Accountability and the Environment,’ held in Lagos.
The initiative demands that oil companies publish the exact amount of crude oil and gas they pump from every well.
“A situation where revenue estimates are based only on crude figures from distribution or export points is unhealthy,” the Executive Director, ERA/FoEN, Nnimmo Bassey, said.
“Nigerians deserve to know what is going on at both ends of the pipelines. Publish what you pump. Time to metre the wells. Enough of the oil thefts. Without this, even Nigerian reserve crude oil and gas figures are fictional,” Mr. Bassey added.
The keynote speaker, Festus Iyayi, stated that companies operating in local communities must be socially responsible.
“A company that operates in a way that endangers the environment cannot be talking about social responsibility,” Mr. Iyayi, a professor and former president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, said.
The Executive Director of Community Outreach for Development and Welfare Advocacy, Taiwo Otitolaye, accused multinational corporations in Africa of playing active roles in some of the continent’s “worst atrocities.”
“The political class in Africa is often compromised through bribery and financial support for political activities by multinational corporations. In, effect some multinationals call the shots in such regimes,” Mr. Otitolaye said.
“State legislation and treaties provide no overt requirements for responsibility upon corporations to protect, respect, and enhance human rights in their areas of operation,” he added.
The three day forum also featured the presentation of the ‘Comrade Che Ibegwura award,’ an annual for individuals involved in community mobilization.
A 68-year-old, Raphael Warder, and his wife, Ayubakuro, 44 – natives of Ikarama community in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, who have been involved in environmental activism despite threats from multinational corporations- went home with the N100 thousand prize money.
Mr. Ibegwura blamed the continuous environmental pollution by multinational companies on tacit response from natives.
“Most of these days, I meditate more and sleep less. I ask ‘how can we leave a better world? Why is the world not better for us?” asked Mr. Ibegura, who turns 80 on Friday.
An environmental rights lawyer, Uche Onyeagucha, blamed the flooding in some parts of the country on the failure to manage the River Niger dredging.
“The bad way in which the River Niger dredging was managed was what is responsible for the flood and not the so called opening of the dam in Cameroon,” Mr. Onyeagucha, who represented Bukola Saraki, the Chairman of Senate Committee on Environment, said.
The consultation ends on Friday.