The exploration and exploitation of oil in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria has become a great source of concern to environmental activists. The oil companies arrived from the advanced countries of the global north and the situation of the circumstance began rapidly changing in a catastrophic dimension. The Niger delta is now a shadow of its old self culminating to wide ranging agitations, bunkering, damage to pipelines etc.
It is worthy of note that, oil was first pumped in Bayelsa in 1956 by Shell, a Royal Dutch company. Arising from that, large number of multinational oil companies are struggling to dwarf each other in several operational arrangements such as joint ventures. The major companies include:
• Addax Petroleum, a part of Chinese Sinopec Group, that started Nigerian operations in 1998. It has over 100 wells in Nigeria. Its net worth is estimated at more than 17 million pounds.
• Nexen Inc is another part of Chinese group under CNOOC Limited. Their main assets in Africa are offshore projects in Nigeria, which started in 2012. They are also into deep water exploration in Nigeria
• Total has been working relationship with Nigeria for over fifty years. It currently has a wide distribution network of over 500 oil stations with a net worth is estimated at more than 120 billion dollars.
• Petrobras is from Brazil with a net worth estimated at more than $73 billion
• Shell is a Royal Dutch company working with Nigeria for over 60 years its net worth is estimated at more than 213 billion dollars. It is notorious to have reportedly said that oil spills are due to crude oil theft, illegal refining and sabotage are direct causes of most environmental damage in the Niger Delta.
• Statoil is a Norwegian oil company working with Nigeria since the early 1990s. It is responsible for the Agbani exploration project in Nigeria. Its net worth is estimated at more than $155 billion.
• Chevron is a USA conglomerate with several years of working in Nigeria whose net worth is estimated at more than $253 billion.
• Exxon Mobil is the top oil company in the world which began operations in Nigeria in 1955. All of its operations are offshore, where it owns 90 platforms on 3,200 square kilometres of territory. Its net worth is estimated at more than $400 billion
Combined effect of the damage:
According to Rise for Bayelsa campaign about 40 million litres of oil are spilled every year across the Niger Delta.
• Air, land and water have all been contaminated
• Devastating effects on residents’ health and livelihoods
• Vast areas of the region’s waterways and mangrove swamps – one of the ost diverse ecosystems in Africa – have been destroyed or put at risk
• Farmland has been cloaked in oil, contaminating crops
• Exposure to high levels of heavy metals such as chromium, lead and mercury
• Gas flaring–have filled the air with pollutants, and created acid rain.
• After oil spillage is reported to the appropriate authorities, little or nothing is done to clean up the mess
• Deadly blow on fishing or farming to support themselves
• Life expectancy is cut short – as low as 45 and other health issues like premature babies
• A study estimated that, in 2012 alone, 16,000 babies died within the first month of life because of oil pollution in the Niger Delta.
• Separate research, cited by the interim report of the Bayelsa State Oil and Environmental Commission, has found that pollution is placing communities at heightened risk of kidney damage, as well as diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Campaigners report increased cases of diarrhea and child malnutrition.
Our immediate demands to G7 Countries
namely: United States, the U.K., France, Japan, Germany, Italy, and Canada to:
Immediately pay their accumulated debts by commencing actions and activities to:
• Pay all your accumulated climate debts
• Clean up spills-environmental remediation
• Provide swift compensation to all communities affected
• Develop long-term solutions to avoid spills
• Move with time by investing in sustainable projects in all communities in which oil companies operate.
• Adhere strictly with laws governing environmental issues
• Remediate the environment in all the sites
Courtesy: Extinction Rebellion Abuja-Nigeria