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Pollution: Reps vow to stop int’l oil firms’ divestiment

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The National Assembly has said it will stop International Oil Companies operating in the Niger Delta from divesting their facilities if they fail to address the negative environmental impacts of their operations in their host communities.

The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Host Communities, Dumnamene Dekor, stated this at a two-day Technical Session on the Implementation of Host Communities Development Trusts organided by Space for Change with support from Ford Foundation.

Dekor expressed dismay that since the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act, rather than experiencing a better deal, communities had remained poor and in some cases, worse off.

He said the committee would use the instrumentality of the law to ensure that oil giants operate responsibly.

Dekor said: “By the enactment of that law, and you are aware it was done in 2021 and this is 2023, we have not seen the host communities stop complaining, meaning that the Host Communities Development Trusts are not operational.

“The host communities have not started getting the benefit of the law and it leaves the people of host communities in the same way they have always been.

“I understand that some of them (oil companies) are beginning to divest very quickly, we will also make sure that we stop some of those divestments so that the people can benefit.

“Take for example, you cannot mess up an environment, degrade it, then suddenly you divest, leave all that you have done and walk away. This committee will also liaise and make sure that we form partnerships with those communities that are affected to make sure that if it is Shell or any other company, we will make sure they are brought to account. We want people to begin to reap benefits.”

The Executive Director of the Spaces for Change, Victoria Ohaeri, said the meeting provided an opportunity for an appraisal of the PIA after its passage.

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