Finding a solution to safe and healthy environment in the Niger Delta

Stakeholders Alliance For Corporate Accountability(SACA) and Nigerian Agip Oil Company(NAOC) partner on Environmental Safety in Niger Delta region and urge Niger Delta Communities to refocus on Agriculture inaugurate UNGP- P2R in Bayelsa reports AHERHOKE OKIOMA.

A non-governmental organization, Stakeholders Alliance for Corporate Accountability(SACA), the Nigerian Agip Oil Company(NAOC) and governmental institutions, have re-emphasized the need for a safe and healthy environment in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.

The Trumpet gathered this at the inauguration ceremony of the United Nations guiding principles on business and human rights(UNGP-P2R) programme which was held by the Stakeholders Alliance for Corporate Accountability (SACA) in conjunction with the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

The Trumpet correspondent reports that the Stakeholders Alliance for Corporate Accountability (SACA) is funded by Misean Cara of the Republic of Ireland.

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Giving his keynote address, the Executive Director of SACA, Mr Kingsley Ozegbe, decried the spate of oil spills in the Niger Delta region, emphasizing the danger it portends on the environment and human life is worrisome.

He noted that following SACA’s quest in curbing hazards related to oil spills, it had gone into partnership with the oil firm(NAOC), towards finding lasting solutions through campaigns against oil spillages in the Niger Delta region.

Ozegbe said as a result of the NGO’s willingness to take the campaign against oil spills and the resultant hazards to the environment and human life in the nooks and crannies of the Niger Delta region, SACA and NAOC intend to carry on the project for a three year saying the first phase of the partnership was to refocus the attention of the Niger Delta communities to agricultural businesses, especially on cash crops production.

The SACA boss hinted that no fewer than 70 communities would be engaged in the first phase of the programme, noting that it promises to be beneficial to all, including the unborn generations.

He said:  “Today’s gathering marks another great effort towards addressing a common problem that is facing humanity in this region. This project was jointly conceived in April 2020 by our organization (SACA), and the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), to contribute to the implementation of Ruggie Principles under the leadership of the United Nations business and human rights working group(UNGP). We’ve structured the project on the tripod of the UNGP framework that seeks to protect, respect and remedy human rights breaches. The project is published on the website of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“It is framed to be implemented through multi-stakeholders and non-violent approaches. Partnering organizations include agencies, commissions, security architecture of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Bayelsa State Government, international research institutes, financial institutions, civil society organizations and the media.”

The Executive Director, who decried the heightening risk associated with oil and gas activities in the Niger Delta region, also restated that over 40 (forty) organizations would be working with SACA at different times towards bringing the needed outcomes. He noted that: “Currently, the risk associated with oil and gas activities in the Niger Delta region are heightening and investment climate is dimming. The oil spillages into the environment is becoming very alarming, thus, it calls for stronger teamwork to safeguard humanity and improve the environment to attract investors to create opportunities to absorb the working population that is surging on daily basis.”

Speaking with newsmen shortly after the programme, the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Chief David Alagoa, and his Environment counterpart, Iselema Gbaranbiri, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Mr Martin Waripamo and Director, Agricultural Services, Dr Okoya Ebasi,  and Christopher Ewhrudjakpo, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education respectively, commended SACA and the oil firm for the programme, being first of its kind, promising that the state government was ready to continue to partner with the NGO in their awareness and enlightenment projects across the state.

They posited that the state government as a prosperity administration is ever ready not only to provide enabling environment for investors but to welcome the collaboration and partnership by SACA and NAOC and urge others to emulate them in the fight for environmental sustainability and improved livelihood of Niger Delta host communities to oil and gas exploration and exploitation.

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