Worried by what it described as flagrant abuse of environment by International Oil Companies (IOCs), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) committed to environmental justice and climate change issues in Niger Delta, has threatened to sue ExxonMobil and Frontier Oil.
The National President of the Network Advancement Programme for Poverty and Disaster Risk Reduction (NAPDDRR), Alhaji Al mustapher Edoho, who stated this in an interview in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital at the weekend explained that “the action became necessary following decades of gas flaring, oil spillages and environmental degradation caused by oil and gas exploration and exploitation activities by the IOCs.”
Edoho, who expressed dismay at the exploration activities of the oil firms without any recourse to Environmental Impacts Assessment (EIA) analysis, noted that “activities of the oil firms have seriously impacted negatively on people’s lives, environment and ecosystems.”
According to Edoho, “we petitioned the oil firms demanding records of mitigation system to cushion the effects of gas flaring, oil spills and other environmental effects and what we got as responses are not satisfactory to us. The Frontier Oil casually told us that gas flaring is a routine regime in their company operations to provide gas to ExxonMobil and others. The management of ExxonMobil just dismissed our petition as if they don’t owe anyone any obligation and that is why we are seeking redress in court.”
“ExxonMobil Unlimited has flared gas in Esit Eket and other oil bearing communities in Akwa Ibom since 1970 till date without any remediation programme to cushion the devastating effects.
“On its own part, Frontier Oil joined in such environmental unfriendly practice in 2012. So, as an environmental-friendly organization, we have to commence action to compel these organisations to adhere strictly to internationally recognized standards in oil exploration activities to keep our environment safe.
“Our ecosystem have been destroyed, lives lost, farmlands and aquatic lives completely degraded by the activities of these firms without any commensurate compensation to assuage the feelings of the people of these communities,” he stressed.
He blamed government for being insensitive to the plights of the people of the oil bearing communities of Onna, Ibeno, Eket and Esit Eket, alleging that “the host government is only concerned with what it get as tax from the IOCs without considering the negative impact of the exploration activities of the oil firms on the people and environment.”
Edoho, therefore, urged on the state government and other regulatory authorities to compel the IOCs to adhere to the international regulatory framework that guide operations of oil firms especially in the developing economy like Nigeria.