NESREA, CODE strengthen partnership on cleaner environment in oil-producing communities

By Angela Atabo
A civil society organisation, Connected Development (CODE), and the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) have strengthened their partnership towards achieving cleaner environment in oil-producing communities.

Mr Kingsley Agu, Community Engagement Director, CODE, made this known while he led a delegation of CODE to the NESREA office on Monday in Abuja.

According to Agu, the aim of the visit is to seek ways to get the environment cleaned up using the Host Community Development Trust as enshrined in chapter four of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Host Communities Development Trust Fund was established to address the development needs of impacted communities in the oil-producing areas.

Agu said that CODE was implementing the Power of Voices Partnership, Fair for All Project (PVPF4A) in six oil producing states in Nigeria in collaboration with Oxfam Nigeria.

He said that the project among other goals sought to increase Freedom of Information (FOI) awareness and citizens’ understanding of it to increase accountability in governance.

According to him, the project also seeks to expand the civic space by bringing on board young persons into the brackets and setting up Civic and integrity club.

“We are also demanding for the domestication of the Freedom of Information acts across the project states of Imo, Delta ,Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Cross Rivers and the FCT.

“We are here to ask for partnership between CODE and NESREA demanding for host Community Development Trust to be set up in good time because community members are supposed to benefit three per cent of operational cost of oil companies to be able to carry out developmental projects which includes environment.

“Even though NESREA’s mandate does not involve in oil and gas, there is need for it to look at other aspects like sensitsing the communities on the importance of environmental projects to ensure to get their communities cleaned up.

“One of the revelations from these engagements is for NESREAS to use their own way of ensuring that community members get the environment taken care of in terms of project implementation through the Environmental Impact Assessment,” he said.

Agu said that CODE was looking at partnering with more government agencies for the proper implementation of the Host Community Development Trust being and have the Niger Delta communities getting the dividends of democracy.

Responding Prof.

Aliyu Jauro, Director-General, NESREA, commended CODE for the initiative of supporting host communities for sustainable environment and assured them of improved partnership.

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Jauro was represented by Ms Bintu Mohammed, Director, Partnership and Education, NESREA.

He said that the main focus of the organisation was the enforcement of all environmental laws, guidelines, policies, standards and regulations in Nigeria, as well as enforcing compliance with provisions of international agreements, protocols, conventions among others.

He said that the mission of NESREA was to inspire personal and collective responsibility in building an environmentally conscious society for the achievement of sustainable development in Nigeria.

“Our main focus is to intervene if there is air pollution, ground water pollution, if there is any chemical spillage, among others.

“We have the sectoral regulations that we enforce based on the kind of pollution that happens; so, partnering is what we do all the time; our doors are opened,” he said
========Edited by Chijioke Okoronkwo