New report reveals how Niger Delta communities lived in depressing, deplorable conditions
A new report by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has revealed how “communities in the Niger Delta continue to live in depressing and deplorable conditions, despite the fact that the wealth derived from these areas is the main economic mainstay for the country”.
According to report, the communities in the Niger Delta are the poorest in the country.
The 82-page report launched on Wednesday in Lagos is titled “We Are All Vulnerable Here: How Lack of Transparency and Accountability is Fuelling Human Rights Violations in the Niger Delta”.
The report was presented to the media by Dr. Olubunmi Afinowi, a lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Lagos.
Speaking during the presentation, Afinowi disclosed that “the region remains deeply in the grips of squalor, poverty, and environmental degradation.”
“President Muhammadu Buhari should immediately instruct the Ministry of Niger Delta Humanitarian Affairs and other government agencies overseeing the NDDC to immediately publish the forensic report on NDDC conducted in 2021.
“The leadership of the National Assembly should ensure that the relevant committees collaborate to initiate independent public enquiries and fact-finding on how public funds have been spent by MDAs to mitigate the socio-economic impact of environmental pollution in oil-producing communities.”
While speaking at the event, a human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, said the management of the Niger Delta Development Commission by interim administrators is illegal.
“The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN should advise President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently reconstitute the NDDC board of directors.
“Since the appointment of interim administrators is unknown to the NDDC Act, all contracts awarded by them are illegal and liable to be set aside.”
Falana also called on the Federal Government to release the report of the Forensic auditing of the NDDC to enable the oil-producing communities to demand accountability from many contractors who collected huge funds and abandoned development projects in the Niger Delta region.
Among the people who attended the report launch are: Speaker of Cross Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon John Etim; the Chairman of the ICPC, represented by Dr Grace Chinda; and the Executive Secretary of NEITI, represented by Kareem Lamidi, team lead advocacy for NEITI.
The report launch was also attended by Dina Sabi, Second Secretary of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Nigeria; the Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR), represented by Mr. Egbe Ekpe; and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, represented by Barrister Raji Rasaki.
Others are: High Chief Eric Barisa; Madam Florence Kayemba, Stakeholder Democracy Network; the Executive Secretary, NHRC, represented by Mr. Saliu Musa; representatives of communities from the Niger Delta; and the members of the media.