Environmental advocacy group trains Bayelsa, Delta oil community residents on environmental monitoring

Posted by News Express | 15 April 2022 | 239 times

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Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), an environmental rights focused group has concluded training of some 40 residents of oil bearing communities in Delta and Bayelsa states.

Speaking to the volunteers drawn from Gbarain/Ekpetiama in Bayelsa and  Iwhrekan in Delta, Dr. Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director of HOMEF noted that a safe environment was fundamental to support life and livelihood.

He said that there was a need for people who reside near oil and gas fields to remain vigilant and observant to conserve the environment and ensure that the economic interests of investors do not threaten the environment.

Bassey who holds a National Honour of Member of order of Federal Republic (MFR) for environmental activism noted there was a need to raise volunteers who will defend the ecosystem from degradation and pollution.

He noted that Iwhrekan and Gbarain gas fields constitute the dominant gas flare sites in the Niger Delta and hence residents from the areas require capacity building on environmental management.

He advised them to develop their skills to 'listen to the environment' as it responds and speaks by responding to human activities that distort the ecosystem.

Speaking to participants, Mr. Alagoa Morris, an environmentalist said that monitoring the environment demands factual and evidence based data collection, recording and reporting.

“In journalism, the media professionals say that facts are sacred, and that is even much more applicable and I will say that in advocating for environmental justice, facts are more sacred.

“I say so because there is no room for false and misleading information because all facts must be validated at various stages including litigation and even exaggeration is strongly discouraged.

“Environmental monitoring is evidence based and empirical, and it makes the information stand the test of time,” Morris said.

Also, Mr. Ken Henshaw, a Civil Society Activist who examined the imperatives of the divestment by oil firms from onshore assets and the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), urged communities to brace up for challenges in the new era. Henshaw noted that the new law which recommends a three per cent operational budget as host community funds left the constitution of the governance structures largely in the hands of oil firms.

He observed that the PIA is silent on existing corporate social obligation operated by oil firms.

Mr Cadmus Alake-Enade, Project Lead, Fossil Politics and Climate Change at HOMEF took the participants through the steps and procedures in environmental monitoring and reporting.

Alake-Enade urged them to be observant about changes in their environment and record same over time to establish a trend.

The interactive segment of the training had the volunteers from the two states share experiences and adverse impacts of oil and gas exploration on their environments.

PHOTO: Dr Nnimmo Bassey (Right), Executive Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), speaking to participants at an environmental monitoring and reporting training organised by HOMEF for oil community residents in Delta and Bayelsa states held in Yenagoa on Thursday, April 14, 2022

 


Source: News Express

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