Coalition Backs National Assembly Resolution to Halt Divestment in Oil, Gas Sector by IOCs

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A group, Coalition of Civil Society Organisations has thrown its weight behind the resolution of the House of Representatives to halt the ongoing divestment of oil and gas assets by the International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the Niger Delta region of the country.

The Coalition led by Botti Isaac of Social Action Integrated Centre (Social Action), Dr. Prince Ekpere of OLESH Centre for Community Development; Arigbabu Sulaiman of HEDA Resource Centre; Dr. Barrister Uko Etuk of Policy Alert; Shehu Akowe of Health of Mother Earth Foundation, among others disclosed this at a press conference on Sunday in Abuja.

Speaking on behalf of the Coalition, Isaac expressed worry over the rationale behind the federal government’s plan to hurriedly approve the International Oil Companies (IOCs) divestment plans without proper assessment.

The coalition stated: “We call for a halt to divestment given the significant risks and concerns associated with this divestment, we call for an immediate halt. 

“The Nigerian authorities should not approve any further divestment until a comprehensive and transparent framework, acceptable to the governments of the Niger Delta states, affected communities, labour, and civil society observers, is established, addressing all environmental, industrial relations and social liabilities to the satisfaction of all stakeholders, including affected communities.

“Demand for comprehensive resolution of environmental and social liabilities the divestment raises significant concerns regarding the accountability for SPDC’s and other IOC’s historical environmental damages and the ongoing pollution from oil operations. 

“The asset ownership transition must not diminish local communities’ capacity to seek redress and justice. 

The distressing experiences of communities such as Oloibiri, Nembe, Umuechem, Ogoniland, Rumuekpe and others underscore the urgent need for a divestment process that prioritises environmental restoration and social equity.”

Adedayo Akinwale

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