Agip logo. Photo: Google
‘The CSOs described the sale of assets by Agip and other oil multinationals as an attempt to escape responsibility for several years of poisoning the environment and people of the Niger Delta’
By Valentine Amanze
Civil society organizations (CSOs) have kicked against the acquisition of Nigeria Agip Oil Company Limited by Oando Plc, without the knowledge of host communies in Nigeria’s Niger Delta.
The CSOs were reacting to the September 4, 2023 announcement that Oando Plc has concluded a deal with Eni toacquire 100 percent of the shares of Nigeria Agip Oil Company Limited.
The transaction, it would be recalled, came a little over two years after Shell, Chevron,
Total Energies, and Exxon Mobil attempted to divest vital oil assets.
In a statement issued by Kome Odhomor of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) for the 10 CSOs, they condemned the manner and method the Italian oil giant transacted the deal with Oando Plc.
They insisted that prior to any sale of oil assets, the company must address several cases and concerns bordering on the ecological, health, economic, and social impacts of its operations in the Niger Delta.
“While we recognize that firms have the right to dispose of their assets as they see fit, we are worried about the way in which this transaction is being carried out, as well as the immediate and long-term
ramifications for communities and the cause of ecological justice,” they stated.
The CSOs described the sale of assets by Agip and other oil multinationals as an attempt to escape responsibility for several years of poisoning the environment and people of the Niger Delta.
They therefore urged the federal government of Nigeria to immediately place a moratorium on all oil company divestment (or sale of assets) in the Niger Delta, pending the ascertaining of issues of community concern.
They also appealed to the federal government to immediately produce a framework and guide for how oil companies disengage from areas where they have operated.
The guide according to them, should be developed by a multi-stakeholder group including communities and civil society organizations.
The CSOs also recommended that the divestment (or sale) framework must contain the following requirements for oil companies and the Nigeria authorities:
i. A scientifically developed post hydrocarbon impact assessment report that establishes the exact ecological and livelihoods impacts of oil extraction.
ii. A health audit of people located in close proximity to extraction sites, and others exposed to oil contamination and gas flaring.
This audit will aim at unraveling the negative health impacts of exposure to hydrocarbons.
iii. A detailed plan and costing for remediating the ecological, livelihood and health impacts of extraction.
iv. The establishment of independent frameworks for remediating all identified impacts and compensation to the impacted individuals and communities.
The statement was endorsed by:
1. Nnimmo Bassey, Health or Mother Earth Foundation
2. Ken Henshaw, We The People
3. Iniruo Wills, Bayelsa State
4. Akinbode Oluwafemi, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation
5. Chima Williams, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth
6. Emem Okon, Kebetkatche Women Development and Resource Centre
7. Tijah Bolton, Policy Alert
8. Umoh Isua, Peace Point Development Foundation
9. Anino Atsekurubu- Social Action
10. Henry Eferegbo, Niger Delta Network for Environmental Justice.