Tuesday, 26 March 2013

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED ON THE 22ND OF MARCH 2013 AT A SUMMIT ON OIL THEFT AND POVERTY IN THE NIGER DELTA.

The CLEEN FOUNDATION, in collaboration with the BRACED COMMISSION and with support from the FORD FOUNDATION, WEST AFRICA Office, organized a SUMMIT ON OIL THEFT, VIOLENCE AND POVERTY IN THE NIGER DELTA On 21-22 March 2013 at Le Meridien Hotel, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.  The Summit brought together top federal and state governments’ policy makers, including the military, Police and other security agencies. It also involved representatives of the oil industry in Nigeria, host communities, opinion/youth leaders and civil society organizations working on natural resources and conflict.

The Summit themed “Securing Nigeria’s Oil: Ending the illegalities” was aimed at proffering a common solution identified by the major stake holders to end the incidences of oil theft, violence and the operation of illegal refineries.

At the end of the two-day summit, it was observed that:

1.      Bad governance, human insecurity challenges have fueled the activity of Oil theft in the Niger Delta;
2.      Oil theft is a function of instability leading to a concept of Self help by the host communities;
3.      Underfunding of security and law enforcement agencies has limited the capacity of the agencies to deliver on their mandates;
4.      There is inadequate information sharing among critical stakeholders;
5.      Inordinate quest for materialism and ‘quick money’ has fuelled issues relating to oil theft and insecurity in the Niger delta;  
6.      There is a correlation between global demand and local supply for ‘blood oil’; 
7.      The Oil companies have contributed to some of the challenges of Oil theft by having by poor maintenance culture or practice of their pipelines and facilities;
8.      Oil theft has had negative impacts on communities by destroying their traditional sources of livelihoods, and creating health hazards resulting from water and air pollution;
9.      The ineffectiveness of the judicial system has resulted in delayed and protracted prosecution, thereby giving little or no punishment for the oil thieves;
10.  There is a recent trend of increase in certain crimes such as kidnaping from activities of oil theft;
11.  Precedents from other countries have shown that if unchecked, illegal wealth from oil theft will drive negative influence in power and politics;
12.  There is a lack of understanding at the community level on the environmental impact of Oil theft;

Based on the above, the following recommendations were made:

Federal Government
1.       There is a need to rethink governance such so as to ensure it guarantees the welfare of the citizens in the oil producing communities;
2.      The Federal Government to deploy multi face meters – oil well, flow stations and export terminals to determine quantity produced and stolen;
3.      There is a need for the Federal Government to demonstrate the political will by way of enforcing existing laws, capacity building, logistics and technological support to its agencies particularly the security and law enforcement agencies;
4.      There is a need to reform the judicial system to ensure that it is effective, efficient and accountable to the society;
5.      There is need to resuscitate the Gulf of Guinea Commission that was set up as a diplomatic channel to address some of our maritime security challenges;

State Government
1.      Good practices that have evolved in Rivers State relating to quick dispensation of justice on oil theft and related issues should be emulated by other oil producing states;  
2.      The state governments should facilitate the diversification of their economy and regeneration of the vegetation;
3.      Oil producing states should synergize their actions and resources to address the challenges posed by oil theft;
4.      They should ensure the effective implementation of Global Memorandum of Understanding;
5.      They should facilitate, through the Ministries of Information and the National Orientation Agency, awareness and sensitization campaigns for the communities on the negative impact of oil theft;

Civil Society Organizations
1.      Should monitor and document compliance of oil companies to the implementation of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights;
2.      Should advocate for the rights of security and law enforcement officials that die in the line of duty;
3.      Should facilitate community awareness and sensitization on the negative socio, economic, health and environmental impacts of oil theft;
4.      Should mobilize Communities against the activities of oil thieves and related issues;
5.      Should provide data and information to Security and law enforcement agencies that would aid intelligence gathering


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