NEWS

Create Tribunal For Environmental Terrorism, Economic Crimes In N-Delta- ERA Tells FG

Mr. Alagoa Morris, the Programme Manager/Head of ERA’s Niger Delta Resource Centre in Bayelsa Office, emphasized this need during a statement in Yenagoa.
By Nengi Champion, Yenagoa

The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has urged for the creation of an environmental tribunal to address environmental terrorism and economic crimes in the Niger Delta. This move aims to rectify the prolonged social and environmental injustices suffered by Niger Delta communities and the natural environment.

Mr. Alagoa Morris, the Programme Manager/Head of ERA’s Niger Delta Resource Centre in Bayelsa Office, emphasized this need during a statement in Yenagoa. He expressed concern that both the Federal Government and oil companies focused solely on the amount of crude oil reaching export terminals, neglecting the quantity of spills and the resulting harm to local communities and the environment.

Morris spoke in the context of frequent oil spills in the region, often attributed to reasons such as aging facilities leading to equipment failure, suspected interference by vandals or oil thieves, and the burning of confiscated stolen crude oil and illicitly refined petroleum products by security forces in the Niger Delta.

His words: “Apart from oil spill incidents, ERA/FoEN has followed up and reported improper clean-up of oil spill impacted sites over the years. Often times, as documented spill impacted sites are set ablaze, resulting in further destruction of the ecosystem and livelihood of the people.

“Also, apart from deaths and serious injuries sustained at local refinery camps, it is common knowledge that environments where these activities are ongoing suffer so much land, water and air pollution.

“While the land and water (including swamps and creeks) would be largely polluted from raw crude oil and refined products, air pollution happens from the process of refining and destruction of camps by security operatives and private surveillance teams by burning, sending thick columns of dark smoke towering in the atmosphere before scattering far in the air and descending through dew. This is as bad, if not worse than gas flaring, with serious health and livelihood implications.

“There is no known conference or public gathering of stakeholders organised by the Federal Government or oil companies with a view to openly talk about the issues associated with oil bunkering and local refining of crude oil.”

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