Swearing in Ceremony of Justice Tanko Ibrahim by President Buhari at the ASO ROCK VILA in Abuja

A coalition of Ijaw groups have urged the South South Governors to extract a commitment from President Muhammadu Buhari on the clean up of the Niger Delta and ending gas flaring in the region.

The groups also called for an amendment to the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to increase the provision for host communities from three per cent of operating expense to at least 10 per cent.

The groups made the call in a letter to the Governor of Edo, Mr Godwin Obaseki; Delta, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa; Rivers, Mr Nyesom Wike; Bayelsa, Sen Douye Diri; Akwa Ibom, Mr Emmanuel Udom and Cross River, Dr Ben Ayade.

A copy of the letter availed to newsmen in Yenagoa on Thursday indicate that the leaders were poised to work and achieve improved environment for the region that supports oul and gas production.

The letter was jointly signed by Chief Bukazi Etete, Chairman, Ijaw Elders Forum, Lagos; Maj.-Gen. Paul Toun (rtd.), BOT Chairman, Ijaw Professionals Association and Mr Ben Okoro, Moderator, Ijaw Nation Forum.


Others are Chief Amagbe Kentebe, BOT Chairman, Embasara Foundation and Ms Annkio Briggs, Chairperson, Ijaw Women Connect.

The groups commended the South South governors for their recent vigorous defense of the interest of the region and championing the tenets of fiscal federalism.

They noted that the PIA which was signed into law by the president on Aug. 16 had some contentious areas that need to be addressed urgently.

The groups claimed that the expulsion of stakeholders input from the region in drafting the Act have exposed a failure to address the legitimate concerns of communities that have suffered human and environmental degradation in six decades of oil exploration.

They, therefore asked the governors to institute a legal action against some clauses in the PIA and also convene a special stakeholders hearing on the Act In the region.

The groups said: ” The governors need to mobilise a broad legislative understanding and action at the National Assembly to correct the anomalies.

“They are to request from the president a commitment at the forthcoming UN Climate Change  Conference of Parties (COP 26 Glasgow Oct. 30 to Nov. 12 to promptly commence a Niger Delta wide clean up of the worst petroleum pollution footprint on the planet.

“The government should fix a date to end gas flaring that is perennially choking our communities with acid rain.

“This is in line with the global push for climate action and the UN’s declaration of 2021 2030 as the Decade for Ecosystem Restoration.”

The groups also called for an amendment to the PIA to put an end to gas flaring and prescribe stiff and
cascaded penalties for non-compliance with the timelines.

They also urged the government to incorporate a fund to remediate existing orphaned legacy polluted sites.

The groups said communities should be relieved of the responsibility to protect oll and gas pipelines and infrastructure and should not be penalised in the event of damage.

They also asked the government to redefine host communities as oil bearing communities and immediate neighbouring areas impacted by oil and gas production operations.

The groups also called for adequate representation in the Governing Boards and Managements of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority.

They further asked that oil and gas companies should be mandated to locate their head offices, Including board and top management, in their operational areas/states. Okay

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