Group seeks end to Chevron’s ‘impunity’

The group urged the UNHRC to evolve a mechanism to check environmental degrading practices by international oil firms.

A civic group, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), on Thursday joined in the commemoration of ‘International Day Against Chevron’ for the oil firm’s ‘crimes’ against the environment.

The group urged the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) to evolve a mechanism to check environmental degrading practices by international oil firms.

Godwin Ojo, Executive Director of ERA/FoEN made the call in Yenagoa during the commemoration of Global Day of Action Against Chevron.

Mr. Ojo said, “International Anti-Chevron Day’ is organized simultaneously in 15 countries to draw attention to ecological damages caused by the operations of the American oil firm.”

According to him, UNHRC should ensure a uniform global legally binding mechanism to put an end to environmental crimes and hold multinational oil firms accountable wherever they operate.

The environmentalist said at present the oil firms exploited the poor regulatory framework in many countries to degrade the environment and commit ecological crimes.

Representatives of communities impacted by Chevron’s Apoi North rig explosion of January 16, 2012 in Kouama 1 and 2, Ikebiri, Ezetu attended the event.

Speaking at the occasion, Iniruo Wills, the Bayelsa Commissioner for Environment, noted that the government was seeking ways of resolving the conflict between Chevron and Bayelsa communities impacted by the rig explosion.

According to him, the government has taken steps to bring the aggrieved communities, the oil industry regulator, and officials of Chevron to the negotiation table.

He said even though the state sees oil firms operating within its domain as partners, the welfare of its citizens remained paramount.

He advised the communities against false and frivolous claims as it discredits the cases of those with genuine claims.

He assured that Bayelsa government will continue to support the communities affected by the Chevron rig explosion in their quest for compensation from the oil firm.

Mr. Wills noted that the regulatory institutions are not adequately empowered to enforce environmental standards and international oil firms exploit this loophole to the detriment of the environment.


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