Rural Women Beg Tinubu, NASS To Halt IOCs Divestment In Niger Delta | Independent Newspaper Nigeria

2024-05-09 19:58:18

Independent Newspapers Nigeria

PORT HARCOURT - A coalition of women from communities in the Niger Delta region have begged President Bola Tinubu and the National Assembly to delay the approval of international oil companies' onshore assets divestment until all their polluted environment in the region are cleaned up.

The women, mostly farmers made the disclosure in Port Harcourt on Wednesday while addressing a press conference.

Reading a statement titled "Women say no to divestment without ecosystem restoration," on behalf of the women, Mrs. Osaro Ngechuwa said they were kicking against the proposed multinational oil companies' divestment because the IOCs failed to resolve the environmental damages in the region.

The statement was signed by the Executive Director of Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre, Emem Okon, and heads of other women groups to including; Glory Alexander of Alauchi Women Development Initiative, Ibeno; Patience Osaroejiji of Mba Okase Women, Eleme; Enighe Elo of Abua Women Association.

Others are; Lezina Patrick of the Coalition of Ogoni Women Development Initiative; George Bielaye of Southern Ijaw Women group; Pius Dukor Pius of the Pius Dukor Foundation; Aalo Anthony of Kallop Environmental Centre and Maduka Ibegwurache of Ibegwura Foundation.

The women who lamented that communities in the Niger Delta region have been at the receiving end of the environmental devastation caused by the oil companies' activities, urged the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission to make public all documents submitted to them by SPDC on divestment.

They also demanded Renaissance Africa Energy, who are anticipating to take over the assets of SPDC to make public all documents submitted for the acquisition, as well as all proofs of compliance with the guidelines for divestment of oil assets.

"Shell's decision to sell its Nigerian subsidiary, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), and all onshore assets to investors without consulting communities is unhealthy, unethical, irresponsible, and therefore unacceptable.

"Shell PLC plans to sell SPDC shares to Renaissance Africa Energy, a consortium of investors, without regard for its legacy of environmental damage and the need for appropriate consultation with all stakeholders, remedies, and social and legal license to exit. It is instructive that the company has already divested OML 34 to ND Western; OML 17 and OML 29 without proper guidelines.

"We use this medium to call on the federal government not to approve Shell's planned sale of oil assets in Nigeria until all polluted farnmlands in the Niger Delta have been cleaned and restored by these companies.

They added, "The story is similar with other oil majors in Nigeria. Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC), Exxon Mobil Nigeria Limited, and Total Energies Nigeria Limited are poised to divest their onshore assets without engaging host communities and rectifying the damages done to their environment and the well-being of people.

"As affected Niger Delta women, we are concerned about the swiftness of these divestment plans because the government has not provided guidelines to resolve pollution issues before SPDC, AGIP, and Total Energies leave. The comnpanies involved have failed to create women development funds to help victims of oil extraction.

"Communities in the Niger Delta have been at the receiving end of the environmental devastation caused by the company's activities. Women in the Niger Delta suffer severe environmental consequences of oil extraction. Decades of oil pollution and destitution have placed them in a vulnerable position, impeding subsistence agriculture and causing health complications."

Continuing, the women said, "Gas flaring in Ebocha, Ibeno, Umuechem, and other regions has continued as of this instant; communities such as Otuabagi continue to endure the repercussions. The severe disruption to agriculture, fishing, and hunting has caused health issues among women who have been exposed to hydrocarbons.

"The planned divestment has not considered the interests of community people, particularly women. Thus, we condemn international oil companies' and Nigeria's regulatory authorities' attempts to undermine due diligence, transparency, and accountability in the divestment process.

"We call on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to ensure that there is no divestment without ecosystem

restoration. We are saying no to irresponsible divestment! No divestment without ecosystem restoration."

2024-05-09 News