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CSOs call for discontinuation of SPDC sale, say it ‘poses unacceptable risk’

CSOs call for discontinuation of SPDC sale, say it ‘poses unacceptable risk’
February 26
23:32 2024

A coalition of civil society leaders has called for the discontinuation of the sale of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).

SPDC is the Nigerian subsidiary of Shell Plc, a British multinational oil and gas company.

Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, executive director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), made the call on behalf of the leaders, according to a statement on Monday.

The CSOs include Social Action Nigeria, CISLAC, the Africa Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), Stakeholder Democracy Network, Civil Rights Council (CRC), Praxis Academy, Transparency International Nigeria, Transition Monitoring Group ( TMG), and Policy Alert, among others. 

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Shell Plc had agreed to sell its Nigerian onshore oil assets to Renaissance, a consortium of local companies for over $1.3 billion.

According to the coalition, the divestment, which involves the transfer of Shell’s stakes to the consortium, presents a pivotal opportunity that could influence the Niger Delta and its people’s future for many decades to come.

“The Niger Delta, as many of you are aware, has borne the brunt of environmental degradation and social injustices for decades, a direct consequence of the oil exploration and production activities in the region,” the CSOs said.

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‘PLANNED DIVESTMENT OF SPDC POSES UNACCEPTABLE RISK’

The coalition said the planned divestment by Shell without a comprehensive resolution of the long-standing issues poses an unacceptable risk to the region’s ecological integrity and the well-being of its communities.

“In response to this critical situation, our coalition, representing a broad spectrum of civil society organizations and community leaders, has submitted a joint petition to President Bola Tinubu,” the coalition said.

“This petition, endorsed by over a thousand signatories, calls for an immediate halt to Shell’s divestment plans until a transparent, inclusive, and just review process is undertaken. Our demands are clear and grounded in the principles of justice, sustainability, and community welfare:

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“Immediate Suspension of the Divestment Process: We insist on pausing Shell’s divestment until there is a thorough review that addresses the environmental and social legacies of Shell’s operations in the Niger Delta.

“Accountability and Transparency: Shell must be held accountable for its historical environmental and social impacts in the region. We demand a clear and transparent process that ensures accountability and remediation before any transfer of ownership.

“Strengthened Regulatory Framework: We call upon the Nigerian government to enforce robust regulatory measures to protect the rights and interests of the Niger Delta communities during and after this divestment process.”

The group said the divestment process must prioritise the concerns and voices of the affected communities.

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“We advocate for fair compensation, meaningful engagement, and concrete commitments to remediation,” the coalition said.

The CSOs proposed Shell’s contribution to a fund for environmental restoration and sustainable development in the Niger Delta, managed transparently and with community involvement.

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They called for the adoption of comprehensive principles to ensure that the divestment process complies with the strictest requirements for accountability, openness, and diversity.

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