An Open Letter Part 1: Assessing Crude Oil Exploration and the Environmental Impacts on Sustainable Economic Development in Badagry.
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AN OPEN LETTER TO:
Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu
The Executive Governor
Alausa - Lagos
Hon. Minister of Environment
Federal Ministry of Environment
Mabushi - Abuja
Hon. Minister of Petroleum Resources
Chief Timipre Sylva
Herbert Macaulay way
Central Business District - Abuja
16 April 2021
Part 1: Assessing Crude Oil Exploration and the Environmental Impacts on Sustainable Economic Development in Badagry. An Appeal to Lagos State Governor, Minister of Environment, Federal Ministry of Environment & Minister of Petroleum Resources
The environmental impacts of crude oil exploration cannot be overlooked and such impacts have been observed in the Niger Delta region. This has threatened human habitation and livelihood. One example of such is community Ajido, in Badagry Lagos State, and others that are in close proximity to the exploration site have complained of their discomfort as ecological impacts and problems increase. The discomfort recorded across these communities includes loss of livelihood and health hazards. And the complaints include the failure to adequately implement and regulate the Environmental Impact Assessment act (EIA) for oil exploration to consider international standards, a requirement that must be met, and complied with, before commencing oil exploration. Some of the impacts of oil exploration suffered in the Ajido Badagry region include acid rain affecting the fertility of the soil and has been seen in areas of low crop growth as an environmental impact and skin irritation, rashes and likelihood of cancer as some of the many human impacts. Other consequences discovered in these categories is the rise in temperature that has led to immature growth and withering plants such as mat stalks, coconut trees, maize, casava and a reduction in the coconut market and diverse farm produce industry (see Nwannekanma, 2019).
The impact goes beyond Ajido. Gberefu Island and other communities have been equally affected as oil exploration has reduced the quantity of fish because of the light connected with the flying of gas and some have labelled the exploration as “exploitation” because of the way the agents behave (see Nwannekanma, 2019).
Comparable examples have been found in the Niger Delta, that Lagos State could learn from in order to prevent the devastating consequences of crude oil exploration or exploitation (see Pitkin, (2011; Ayanlade, 2016). For a critical overview of the situations and matters at hand, UVOBPI-TEAMCO has researched the lessons to be learnt and have offered the following results for your examination.
Stakeholders engaging in the policy process of Crude Oil Exploration
Environmental Impact Assessment act (EIA): the theory of EIA provides divers tools for stakeholders engaging in the policy process but governments in developing countries also need to effect plans, monitor, take accountability, and show openness and due process and compliance to the rule of law that enables the EIA to effectively access and mitigate adverse environmental impacts. Why are these necessary? There have been studies that has evaluated the EIA procedure in relation to the Nigerian Maritime Oil and Gas Sector (NMOGS). Notably, these interactions connect the complex discussion between policy, business and civil society actors domestically and beyond implementing agencies. Studies have also shown that the institutional context of NMOGS is circled by dominant interagency conflict and policy ambiguity and the main reason for the ambiguity “is that two EIA systems operate in parallel at the national scale” causing problems for the country to attain their anticipated goal of reaching “sustainable development in the domestic oil and gas sector” (see Morounkeji, 2012).
What consequences lie for the future for failing to do it right now?
Accountability, openness and complying with the EIA act and other relevant environmental laws are absolutely necessary for agents and stakeholders. Among many of these challenges is the increase in organised crime. For example, studies have shown that the Niger Delta oil crime is one of the most significant natural resource crimes worldwide with systemic theft, sale and unlawful refining that reach at least 20 percent of Nigeria’s oil output and that “Illegal bunkering and artisanal refining have increased exponentially over the past decade” (see Cartwright & Atampugre, 2020). There are indeed many lessons to learn from these situations as we would love our dear Lagos and Badagry to stay free from environmental hazards and the troubles that emerge with this. Just as it happened in the Niger Delta region, there are threats to both human habitation and the economic life of communities, whose major occupations and livelihoods have been snatched away. Besides, many conflicts perceived in the 21st century was the outcome of a lack of an inclusive, open, and accountable, fair society that lacks an equitable share of resources. Also, we have discovered that there are many laws out there that are more than capable to protect Nigeria from environmental impacts. We have detailed these below.
Environmental Legislation in Nigeria
Environmental Policy and its Enforcement: the foundation of environmental policy in Nigeria that agencies or actors comply with and doing so enforce environmental law is seen in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Pursuant to section 20 of the Constitution, with this, “the State is empowered to protect and improve the environment and safeguard the water, air and land, forest and wildlife of Nigeria. In addition to this, section 2 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act of 1992 (EIA Act)” and “the public or private sector of the economy shall not undertake or embark on or authorise projects or activities without prior consideration of the effect on the environment” (see Makinde & Adeyoke, 2007).
The Federal Government of Nigeria has sufficient laws and Regulations to protect Nigeria’s environment. These range from: (see Makinde & Adeyoke, 2007; ESRM Africa, 2020)
• Federal Environmental Protection Agency Act of 1988 (FEPA Act). The following Regulations were made pursuant to the FEPA Act:
• National Environmental Protection (Effluent Limitation) Regulations;
• National Environmental Protection (Pollution Abatement in Industries and Facilities Generating Wastes) Regulations; and
• National Environmental Protection (Management of Solid and Hazardous Wastes) Regulations.
• Environmental Impact Assessment Act of 1992 (EIA Act).
• Harmful Wastes (Special Criminal Provisions etc.) Act of 1988 (Harmful Wastes Act).
Considering the above overview and analysis, we humbly appeal to both the Federal and the Lagos State Government to act in the follow manners:
• Ensure openness and compliance with the EIA and in line with Nigeria’s legislation capable to hold stakeholders, agents and relevant actors accountable.
• We specifically call on the Governor of Lagos state to listen to Badagry people’s calls for effective and sustainable development free from environmental impacts.
Explaining UVOBPI-TEAMCO’s CSO work connecting local communities and what our advocacy work does.
UVOBPI-TEAMCO Monitoring-Observation-Advocacy Mission’s (UTMOAM) eye is on Lagos and we humbly advocate for openness and transparency in Lagos’ affairs and relations with Badagry’s communities at large. UTMOAM also solicits an inclusive society and asks for accountability and our UTMOAM will lobby for transparency and openness to ensure fairness and an equitable share of the state’s wealth derivation to reach Badagry and equally other parts of Lagos. Our Civil Society Organisation (CSO) works with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and comply with Chapter II and III and applicable National legislation in Nigeria for all our advocacy work.
For this reason, UTMOAM seeks direct engagement in Badagry’s affairs and we strongly and humbly further appeal for UTMOAM to be carried along in matters relating to Lagos State and the development in Badagry. What we ask your administration for is transparency, accountability, openness, inclusiveness, and a fairness and equitable share of the state’s wealth to all our communities in Badagry and all other communities who have been left out throughout Lagos state. This is an open appeal sir, and we humbly wait for your reply within the next two weeks at UTMOAM. We have also provided references as evidence to our findings below.
UVOBPI-TEAMCO IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA
UNITED VOICE OF BADAGRY PEOPLE INITIATIVE (UVOBPI)
EMAIL US AT: INFO@THEVOICEOFBADAGRY.ORG
Atampugre, N., & Cartwright, R. (2020, November 26). Organised oil crime in Nigeria: The delta paradox – organised criminals or community saviours? Retrieved April 15, 2021, from https://enactafrica.org/research/research-papers/organised-oil-crime-in-nigeria-the-delta-paradox-organised-criminals-or-community-saviours#:~:text=Niger%20Delta%20oil%20crime%20is,exponentially%20over%20the%20past%20decade
Ayanlade, S., & Howard, M. T. (2016). Environmental impacts of oil production in the Niger Delta: Remote sensing and social survey examination. African Geographical Review, 35(3), 272-293. doi:10.1080/19376812.2016.1209121
ESRM Africa. (2020). Overview environmental legislation – Nigeria. Retrieved April 15, 2021, from https://esrmqa.worldbank.org/program-countries/overview-environmental-legislation
Makinde, O., & Adeyoke, T. (2007, November 20). Environment law in Nigeria - energy and natural resources - Nigeria. Retrieved April 15, 2021, from https://www.mondaq.com/nigeria/energy-law/53804/environment-law-in-nigeria
Morounkeji, L. A. (2012). Evaluating Environmental Impact Assessment Procedures In The Nigerian Maritime Oil And Gas Sector. Retrieved April 15, 2021, from https://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/3897/1/Lawal_12_PhD.pdf
Nwannekanma, B. (2019, March 03). Lagos communities accuse oil firm of environmental pollution. Retrieved April 15, 2021, from https://guardian.ng/property/lagos-communities-accuse-oil-firm-of-environmental-pollution/
Pitkin, J. (2011). Oil, Oil, Everywhere: Environmental and Human Impacts of Oil Extraction in the Niger Delta. Retrieved April 15, 2021, from https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/70972298.pdf