AGAINST the backdrop of massive environmental degradation and human rights violations, a group, Environmental Rights Action, (ERA) has accused multi national oil corporations in NigerDelta of engaging in environmental racism.
The executive director of ERA, Dr. UyiOjo, who spoke in Benin at an environmental parliament, urged the Federal Government to declare the Niger Delta an ecological disaster zone following the persistent environmental degradation of the area.
Ojo insisted that Shell Petroleum Development Company had a responsibility to insist on standards obtained in developed countries in the management of oil spills and gas flaring in the country.
According to him, it was a cause for concern that since April this year, the Anglo-Dutch oil giant had continue to lay gas pipelines through the Joinkrama community in Rivers State without consultation with the local community, noting that Nigeria had several environmental regulations and agencies but are incapable of checking out spills, gas flaring and dangerous waste disposal practices by oil companies in the Niger Delta.
He said, “She’ll should halt its gas pipelines it is laying in proximity to residential and business areas in Joinkrama community and conduct the mandatory Environmental Impact Analysis for the gas project.”
The environmentalist called on the government to put in place a contingency plan of action to bring the oil companies to account by ensuring the clean up of decades of pollution of the environment within the next two years.
He said that the governmentneeded to rise to its responsibilities to hold companies in the oil sector management accountable by ensuring an end to gas flaring, halt frequent oil spills and ensure real time surveillance of crude oil pipelines to detect spills and cases of vandalism.
He called on the Federal Government to divest from fossil and embrace renewable energy transition to eliminate the severe impacts of oil operations on communities and the environment.