Don Charges Oil Firms On N’Delta Development

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A university teacher and environmental sociologist, Dr Steve Wordu, has urged multionationals and other international oil and gas companies (IOCS) operating in the Niger Delta to commit their resources to the development of the region, as well as address the issues of poverty and unemployment prevalent in the area.
Dr Wordu disclosed this while speaking with The Tide, in an interview in Port Harcourt at the weekend.
He said the people of the region has lost their natural environment to pollution accruing from oil exploratory activities, which also cause severe health hazards to people.
Wordu, who is a lecturer in the University of Port Harcourt, decried a situation where most oil companies operating in the Niger Delta, are primarily concerned about commercial interest and gloss over the development of the communities where they operate.
“The story in the Niger Delta in Pathetic. It is regrettable that after several decades of playing host to Myriads of multinational companies, the Niger Delta still remains grossly under-developed. These companies are mostly concerned about what they can get out of the region and not how to develop the communities”, he said.
He called for a review of the corporate policies of the companies operating in the Niger Delta to be community driven, to give the people a sense of belonging.
He pointed out that the “Self serving” policies most of the companies operating in the Nigeria Delta was responsible for the brewing conflicts in the area, and urged the companies to enter into a binding social contract with the host communities.
He further called on the Federal Government to ensure the implementation of laws that enhance community participation in oil and gas development, urging that any company that flouts such community engagement policies should be sanctioned.
The environmentalists also called for stiffer penalties against the defilement of the natural environment and called for sincerity of purpose in the implementation of the cleanup of the Ogoni environment, in line with the recommendation of the United Nation Development Programme (UNEP).