A renowned environmental rights activist from the Niger Delta, Chief Sheriff Mulade, has charged stakeholders in the region, especially those in the oil and gas bearing communities, not to compromise by palm greasing from oil companies that do not operate in line with environmental best practices.
Comrade Mulade, who is the National Coordinator/CEO of Center for Peace and Environmental Justice, CEPEJ, gave the charge in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital on Monday, January 3, 2022, as his new year message.
According to him, “One big challenge faced in promoting growth and development in our communities is compromise by those who we naturally believe should fight to ensure that the needful is done which will benefit the greater majority of the people in the long run. The leaders should strive at all times to work for the economic growth and advancement of the people.”
He strongly appealed to Niger Deltans particularly leaders of oil and gas host communities, to protect and save their environment from further devastation in 2022.
Chief Mulade while reacting to the oil spill situation at Nembe area of Bayelsa State, advised stakeholders to task oil companies to tackle the challenges of pollution in other to reverse to its original status the degraded environment of the Niger Delta region, as well as protect and sustain the environment for future generations.
“It is worthy of note that the National Oil Spill Detection and Responses Agency (NOSDRA), Nigeria Upstream Regulatory Commission ( NUPRC) and other environmental regulatory agencies now seemingly appeared to be tools in the hands of multinational oil and gas exporting companies in Nigeria by compromising and taking biased actions against the local people when it comes to the need for objectively in dispensing oil spill matters because the locals have nothing to offer Government officials,” said Mulade.
Worried about the discovery of the badly degraded environment of oil spills activities, he noted that the economic damages as a result of oil spillages may not be recovered in the next 30 years.
Chief Mulade, the Ibe-sorimowei of the ancient Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State, urged the Federal Government and other stakeholders to prevail on the oil multinationals in 2022, to come up with urgent measures towards reversing the degraded Niger Delta environment, so as to protect the flora and fauna of the region.
Speaking further, the peace and environmental justice advocate, who is also a fellow of Nigerian Environmental Society, appealed to leaders especially Ijaw National Congress (INC) to set up what he called Environmental Impact Assessment/Sustainability Committee to ascertain the level of degradation for recovery.
The environmental activist said it was wrong to allow oil companies to award cleanup contracts to incompetent contractors to save costs and create divisions among the people, as there are standard procedures for carrying out oil spill cleanups globally.
He, therefore, enjoined leaders in the region to ensure that oil companies adhere strictly to global best practices, instead of awarding clean up jobs to contracting firms that lack the capacity and experience to do the job.