Three communities in Badagry communities – Ajido, Imeke, and Araromi, are considering taking up litigation against the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other oil companies involved in the West African Gas Pipeline Company project.
This was disclosed at the end of a two day workshop tagged ‘Exposing the World Bank’s Complicity in Worsening the Climatic Conditions of African Communities’, organized by the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) recently in Lagos.
The workshop, which aimed to examine the impacts of the gas pipelines on communities in Nigeria, Ghana and Togo through which the pipelines traversed, paid particular focus on the World Bank’s interest in climate financing.
“A lot has been done to bring the attention of the company to the plight of the local people,” said Chima Ubani, Head of Legal Resources at ERA/FoEN.
“Litigation option is because every other step has failed,” he added.
The project, an ambitious initiative to supply natural gas from Escravos in Delta State to Benin, Togo, and Ghana, is owned by Chevron, Shell, NNPC, among others.
The gas pipelines pass through 33 Nigerian communities – eight in Lagos and 25 in Ogun – en route the other West African nations.
The Lagos communities say they have been shortchanged by the West African Gas Pipeline Company (WAGPCo).
“We have been discussing this for a long time and there has not been a significant change,” said Alex Kunnuji, a community leader in Ajido.
“We want WAGPCo to have a change of heart in their employment system.
“They cannot be employing workers like security men, messengers from outside to come and work in Ajido when we have able-bodied youths who can do the same work,’ said Mr. Kunnuji.
Representatives of other impacted communities detailed how the project had eroded their sources of livelihoods as well as affected the health of their children.
“Badagry used to be a major supplier of coconuts to other parts of the country, but it’s no longer the case,” said Betty Abah, ERA/FoEN’s Gender Focal Person.
Temitayo Agemo, a representative of Araromi community, noted that the community has not reaped any benefit as a host community for the project.
“The water they gave us is a poison water, you cannot use it to wash talkless of drinking,” said Mr. Agemo.
“Rescue us from these people because they have no fear of God at all,” he added.