By Bob Etemiku
Over 80 Nigerian NGOs, pressure groups working on the thematic areas of climate change and the Environment present at the Conference of Parties, Cop27 taking place in Sham El-Sheik Egypt have issued a 7-point statement of demand to Oil companies, investors and governments to pay communities for the despoliation and environmental pollution that their exploration actions have exacted on host communities.
Innocent Edemhanria, programme Manager, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, who read the joint statement on behalf of the NGO said that the Niger Delta region and other areas where fossil fuel extraction is taking place are highly polluted today, thanks to the operations of Shell and other multinational oil companies, leaving the people of the region with little more than sorrow, tears and blood.
Tracing the history behind how the activities of the oil companies and multinationals have negatively impacted on host communities, the CSOs statement revealed that in the mid-1990s, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, led by Ken Saro-Wiwa, declared that Shell was no longer welcome to operate in Ogoniland, Nigeria.
The Movement argued that others had grown rich on the oil, while pollution from spills and gas flaring had led to the complete degradation of the Ogoni environment.
The CSOs statement said that around the world, there is clear evidence of irreversible damage to the planet, the loss of homelands and the people’s livelihood sources, cultures, ecosystems, and more.
And it is the communities around the world that have contributed the very least to climate change that are paying the highest price.
‘In the last few weeks, 33 million people were forced by floods to flee their homes in Pakistan, damage that will cost Pakistan US$15 billion according to World Bank estimates. Ravaging floods also rendered millions of people across several states in Nigeria homeless, damaging properties worth billions of dollars. In sharp contrast, Shell has already made US$30 billion in profits this year, and agreed to pay out US$18.5 billion to its investors. The top seven global oil companies have made US$150 billion in profits this year.
For far too long, big investors have profited from Big Oil, allowing Shell and other companies to issue misleading marketing statements while they use their influence to dilute and delay government action to resolve the accelerating climate and human rights emergencies. In 2011, a Dutch court ordered Shell to reduce its emissions drastically this decade, to protect human rights. Yet Shell’s investors allowed Shell to defy and appeal the court ruling.
The People’s AGM Platform, established in May 2022 in Lagos, Nigeria, by leaders of community-based organizations from oil-affected communities, faith-based organizations, human rights groups, students, youths, and artisans agreed specific recommendations for oil companies and their investors.
It is clear that powerful oil and gas companies have shown no willingness to make significant changes on their own.
In line with the People’s AGM Platform, and on the occasion of COP27 in Egypt and of the 27th anniversary of the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni leaders for their work to challenge oil companies, the 87 signatories to this statement representing 80 organisations and 7 individuals therefore make the following calls on governments and on investors in oil and gas companies.
Consequently, the CSOs made the following demands and calls on governments and oil companies:
(i) offer significant financing for loss and damages for the people of Niger Delta and other host communities and countries affected by the negative impact of fossil fuel extraction and climate change.
(ii) introduce and enforce laws to stop oil and gas companies from expanding.
(iii) end fossil fuel subsidies, and instead tax oil and gas companies to provide money for communities.
(iv) Additionally, we call on pension funds, insurance companies, asset managers, and all other investors in these companies, starting with those that have any kind of commitment on climate or on “net zero”, to:
(v) agree to participate in a fact-finding mission early in 2023 in collaboration with civil society actors to witness the true impact on communities of oil company operations in the Niger Delta.
(vi) stop lending moral and financial support to companies that are expanding oil and gas production in defiance of the Paris Agreement.
(vii) stop promoting flawed “nature-based solutions” for “offsetting” carbon emissions – many of which amount to new carbon colonialism.
(viii) pay communities for the cleanup of land degraded by oil and gas extraction
(viiii) agree that oil companies must make loss and damage payments.
Signatories included the following:
21st Century Community Empowerment for Youth and Women Initiative (CEYWI),
Advocacy For Youths’ Empowerment And Development, (AYED),
Africa Climate Movement-of-Movements,
African Indigenous Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development AIFES,
Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ),
BankTrack, BiPoC Climate Justice Network Germany,
Black Earth Climate Collective Germany,
Brighton & Hove Friends of the Earth,
Campax Centre for 21st Century Issues,
Centre for Citizens Conserving Environment & Management (CECIC),
Centre for Transparency Advocacy,
Chesterfield Climate Alliance,
Christian Fellowship and Care Foundation,
Climate Action Leicester and Leicestershire,
Community Alliance for Good Governance,
Community Empowerment and Development Initiative,
Community Outreach for Development and Welfare Advocacy (CODWA),
Common Weal, Derbyshire Climate Coalition, Derbyshire Dales Climate Hu
Entrepreneurship Initiative for African Youth (EIFAY Africa),
Earth Regenerative Project Nigeria,
Edinburgh Climate Coalition,
Electra Energy Cooperative (Greece),
Elmahrousa for Development and Participation, Egypt,
Extinction Rebellion, Germany,
Extinction Rebellion, Indonesia,
Eyes on the Environment Initiative,
Fahimta Women and Youth Development Initiative,
Fossil Free West Yorkshire,
Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy & Development (FENRAD), Nigeria, Gender and Development Action,
German Coalition for Ecocide Law, (Buendnis Oekozidgesetz),
Global Justice Bradford,
Grassroots Advocacy Centre for Economic Development (GRACED), Heard Consulting
Initiative for Social Development in Africa (iSODAF),
Joint National Association Of Persons With Disabilities JONAPWD,
Kebetkache Women Development & Resource Centre, Keen and Care Initiative (KCI), Laudato Si Movement – Africa
League of Queens International Empowerment, Mangrove Forest Conservation Society of Nigeria (MFCSN)
Millwater Partners GmbH, New Apostolic Centre for Development, NCD, New forest friends of the earth.
Obelle concern citizen,
Ogoni Solidarity Forum-Nigeria,
Oil Watch Africa,
Plataforma Mocambicana da Mulher e Rapariga Cooperativistas/AMPCM,
People & Planet,
Publish What You Pay International,
Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Nigeria,
Rural Initiative for Change (RIC),
Razom We Stand,
South Durban Community Environmental Alliance,
The Green Connection,
The Sunrise Project,
Women Initiative on Climate Change,
WOW Wales One World Film Festival,
Individual Signatories include the following:
Gwen Vardigans – UK, Judy White – UK, Madeleine Bailey, Onose Martha – Nigeria, Peter Lauterbach, Richard Ramsden – UK, Ruth Lambert – UK
@views exclusive rights: Bob Majiri Oghene Etemiku, November 16, 2022.