A non-governmental organization, Connected Development (CODE) is now in talks with the major stakeholders in the Nigerian extractive sectors with the motives of ensuring grassroot governance for settlers of oil reserve rural communities as well as advocating an urgent passage of Petroleum Industry Governance Bill for harnessed oil riches in the country.
During her advocacy trip to Lagos over the weekend, CODE engaged both the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, and National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, seeking that Nigerians who have become vulnerable in spite of oil spillage are duly compensated.
Their round-table discussions came at the heels of the eviction of thousands of dwellers at Tarkwa Bay, a semi-rural area on the Lagos Island, by the Nigerian Navy on the account of some reported cases of looting nearby oil pipelines.
CODE’s team lead, Dr. Onyekachi Onuoha, in his words, noted that their ‘objective revolves around holding relevant government’s stakeholders in the oil extractive sector accountable to their mandates.’
“Our researches have confirmed hundreds of unregistered oil companies operating across the oil regions of this country. They all contribute to illicit financial flows in Nigeria and exposure of local residents to all sorts of risks in unscrupulous oil extraction”, he established.
Mr. Olisa Mbanefo, the Lagos Zonal head of NOSDRA, agreed that oil companies regulation is at the core of harnessing oil wealth in Nigeria.
He, however, emphasized that the NOSDRA Amendment Act needs to be signed for his agency to maximally prevail on the issues of oil theft.
“Certainly, the discussion is around ensuring that our (NOSDRA) amendment bill is passed so that we can be autonomous to tackle oil vandalism across boards and also sensitize the local communities on the dangers of buckering’, reiterates Mbanefo.
As a step in that direction, CODE also visited the Ibeju Lekki community where the Nigerian business mogul and Africa’s richest Aliko Dangote is building a giant 650,000 barrels a day refinery, is being built.
The belief is that if the residents of the immediate environment are educated about their role in the prospects of the incoming Africa’s largest oil refinery, Dangote’s investment will be worth a fortune to the national GDP.
The NGO, in partnership with Oxfam, also called for the quick passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill to enhance accountability and transparency in the Petroleum sector.