Civil Societies Want Communities’ Inputs In EIA Reports
Civil Society Organisations and other stakeholders in the Niger Delta are seeking the inputs of oil producing and impacted communities in the production and formulation of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIAs) Reports on projects in their communities.
The stakeholders said this at a one-day state level training on Environmental, Social And Human Rights Impact Assessment (ESHRIAs) in the Niger Delta, organized by Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Nigeria, with support from Cordaid Netherlands in Port Harcourt.
They noted that most communities in the Niger Delta, especially those in remote areas have no idea of the negative impacts of projects in their areas.
The stakeholders also stressed the need for both the state and Federal Government to ensure that the rights of communities are enforced. In an overview of the Environmental Social and Human Rights Impacts Assessment (ESHRIAs) in the Niger Delta, the State Coordinator, Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Chiekwe described the Esthria process as a critical partner to help carry along the public for deepening and strengthening the process of ensuring that citizens’ rights especially communities are part of environmental impacts assessments in project design, implementation and government decisions.
Chiekwe said that the oil and gas region has long been a volatile area which has caused many deaths, degradation and unresolved crisis.
According to him, Esthria involves systematically, identifying, predicting and responding to potential human rights impacts of business operations, capital projects (oil, gas, solid minerals and other projects) trade agreement, government policies, community relations and protecting the civic space.
He further said that the PWYP intervention advocates that business operations follow the due diligence process.
“This can be summarised as community participation in the EIA process, companies especially the international oil companies involving communities in oil and gas management impacts on their communities and freedom to be part of the process”.
“Government at all levels involving communities in decision and policy making process, government, communities, international oil companies creating conducive environment for dialogue and continuous interface, while biodiversity audits every two year periodically in a participatory manner”, he said.
Chiekwe also said that the EIA Act Currently undergoing the process of amendment is a window of opportunity to get it right, adding that the different stakeholders should work together above personal, sectional and group interests to integrate community voice, inclusion of all concerned in the design and implementation of EIA and biodiversity audits.
On his part, a stakeholder, Mr. Clement Menedin said that elected leaders of the people should always take up the responsibility of enlightening their communities on EIA process with a view to getting their inputs into it.
Also speaking, the spokesman of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) Mr. Sunny Zorvah said that it’s criminal for companies to neglect their host communities in terms of projects.
Hoscon Decries Pollution Of Niger Delta …Urges for 13percent derivation committee
The Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSCON) has has said the continuous pollution of the Niger Delta is having negative impact on the Niger Delta environment .
It also called on the Federal Government to establish 13 per cent oil derivation presidential implementation committee and allow the host community to nominate members.
Its said that the peoples of the Niger Delta regions are suffering due to the non-implementation of the 13 percent derivation.
National Chairman of HOSCON, Dr Mike Emu, made the call in Abuja during the 2023 Oil and Gas Stakeholders Festival with the theme: “Uniting Stakeholders-A Road Map for Energy Transition”.
He noted that the section 132, sub-section 2, cap 39 of the 1999 Constitution as amended made it very clear that 13 percent derivation is for the host community.
He said, “The Federal Government has tried. There are a number of billions that are in the budget of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, talk about 13 percent derivation that goes to the Niger Delta, about 40, 50 billion every month shared to the government of the oil producing states.
The three percent PIA that has been passed into law, one year, five months now, no implementation of it, unfortunately it is set law. I wonder what is actually happening.
“I may not major on the problem of illegal refinery, pipeline vandalization, or oil theft. But the people of the Niger Delta are suffering, there is no drinking water in the creeks”.
In her remarks, the convener, Oil and Gas Stakeholders Festival, Ms Faith Wilkinson, admonished host communities to embrace change and deviate from the old methods to the new methods of transiting into a better economy.
She said, “We are having post festival training, originally the programme was designed to come with training for women and youths in the oil and gas industry in energy transition.
“But what we are trying to do is after this, we are going to have training for the women and the youths to begin to engage them on issues that are related to the industry”.
Reactions Trail Another Flood Predictions …As FG Says 178 LGAs May Be Flooded This Year
Reactions are now trailing the predictions of another flooding this year.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government, has on Friday in Abuja announced that a total of 178 Local Government Areas in 32 states and the Federal Capital Territory were at risk of high floods this year
A cross section of respondents urged government of the affected states and local Government Areas to take immediate measures towards ensuring that the situation does not have much negative impact on the people.
Speaking with The Tide, an Environmentalist prince Sodin Akiagba urged for the construction of internally Displaced Persons camps in flood prone areas.
.He also called for the dredging of the Orashi river to ensure the free flow of water.
Also speaking a Niger Delta Activist Rev.Sokari Soberekon said government should do something urgently about the impending flood disaster.
He regretted that another flood is coming when people are yet to recover from that of last year.
According to him, communities should be sensitize to be alert this time around stressing that the sufferings of last year should be avoided.
Also speaking prince William Chinwo said those in flood ravaged communities should think of ways to relocate to higher ground.
He also called on government to provide logistics to communities to enable them relocate.
It would be recalled that
while providing the general highlights of the 2023 Annual Flood Outlook put together by the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency and presented to the public by the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu the government said 178 local Government Areas will be affected by flooding this year.
According to the minister,
“The forecasts for 2023 AFO shows that 178 Local Government Areas in 32 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory fall within the highly probable flood risk areas”
He added, “224 Local Government Areas in 35 states of the federation including the FCT fall within the moderately probable flood risk areas. The remaining 402 Local Government Areas fall within the probable flood risk areas.”
The minister outlined the highly probable flood risk states to include Adamawa, Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Ekiti, and Edo.
Others include Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara and the Federal Capital Territory.
For probable flood risk areas between the months of April and November 2023, Adamu said the level of floods in this category was expected to be high in terms of impact on the population, agriculture, livelihood, livestock, infrastructure and the environment.
“Part of 66 LGAs across the country fall within the highly probable risk areas in the months of Apnl, May and June, while part of 148 LGAs fall in the months of July, August and September, and part of 100 LGAs in the months of October and November 2023,” he stated.
The water resources minister further explained that a moderate impact level of floods were expected in parts of 41 LGAs within the months of April, May and June; and in parts of 199 LGAs within the months of July, August and September; as well as parts of 73 LGAs within the months of October and November 2023.
He said the AFO by NIHSA also showed that coastal flooding would be experienced in Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Lagos, Ogun, Rivers and Ondo states due to rise in sea level and tidal surge, which would impact on fishing, wildlife habitation and river navigation.
The report stated that flash and urban floods would be experienced in urban city centres across the country.
“Among these cities are Lagos, Kaduna, Suleja, Gombe, Yola, Makurdi, Lafia, Asaba, Port Harcourt, Yenagoa, Ibadan, Abeokuta. Benin City, Bernin Kebbi, Sokoto, Lokoja, Maiduguri, Kano, Oshogbo, Ado-Ekiti, Abakaliki, Awka, Nsukka, Calabar and Owerri,” Adamu stated.
Meanwhile, the minister pointed out that the AFO was presented to the public on Friday to help the federal and state governments to better prepare for and respond to potential flood events.
“As we learn and recover from the catastrophic effects of the 2022 flood disasters, I have the strong view that the 2023 Annual Flood Outlook will serve as a veritable tool for effective strategic planning to avert loss of lives and property through adequate, coordinated and effective flood early warning and sensitisation, awareness campaigns, improved flood mitigation strategies and preparedness for risk reduction by all stakeholders,” he stated.
By: John Bibor
RSG Harps On Water Standard
As part of efforts in ensuring safe drinking water comsumption in the State with the view to sanitize the industry of quacks, Rivers State goverment has again conducted a two day participatory training for Water Service Providers.
Speaking at the event in Port-Harcourt under the theme “ Water Quality Management And Regulatory Compliance “, Commissioner for Water Resources and Rural Development, Prof Kaniye Ebeku stated that the training will enable the participants have a better understanding of the laws that govern the water sector in Rivers State, which is a prerequisite for being licenced as service provider in the State.
In his words “Rivers State Government places high premium on her citizenry and visitors.Therefore, the abstraction, production and distribution of portable water and even waste water is of great concern to the Wike led administration, hence he has directed me to ensure sanity in the water sector, he added”
Ebeku admitted that the State government is aware of some illegal factories who are operating in the State with fake NAFDAC number, in one room facility and stated that the training will give such persons an opportunity to learn how to produce, package and sell portable water in the State.
Prof Kaniye Ebeku further maintained that ‘water is life, without gender, race, ethnic colouration and that any error in the sector will affect the entire population, hence we must get it right”, he said.
He cited WHO research findings which disclosed that water related disease amount for 4.1% estimated cases of global disease burden and cause about 1.8million death annually with 88% which is attributed to unsafe water supply, sanitation and poor personal hygiene.
The Water Resources and Rural Development Commissioner expreses hope that the knowledge gain from the training/workshop will birth sustainable operations while producing portable water in the State and enjoined them to report any factory disobeying the order and lowering the standards.
The two day participatory training workshop organised by Rivers State Water Services Regulatory Commission under the direct supervision of the Commissioner in pursuant to the Rivers State Water Sector development law no. 7, 2012 to upgrade their performance and protect public health also had practical sessions where participants were made to test their water themselves.
Responding, the State Chairman, Association of Table Water Producers, (ATWAP)Pst Okey Okafor expressed gratitude to the Commissioner on behalf of his colleagues for the training which he said that every stage of the training was brilliant and an eye opener which they will replicate in their operations as there are silence aspect of the industry that the training bought to the fore.
By: John Bibor
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