Lagos moves to avert hostilities associated with oil exploration
• Commissions six courtrooms in Badagry
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State yesterday inaugurated a 45-member committee to address oil exploration issues.The governor spoke in Badagry at the inauguration of the ‘state oil producing areas community relations committee.’He lamented that oil exploration in the country had impacted negatively on the people.
Ambode disclosed that the committee would among other things, interface between the host communities and the oil firms in the area.It would also coordinate a seamless implementation of the envisioned corporate social responsibility planned for the area.The committee is also expected to harmonise development issues between the host communities, government and oil firms in Badagry.
He said: “Exploration activities have been found to create serious environmental challenges affecting health, social and economic activities, sustainable development and ecological balance. They arose from land degradation, air and water pollution, deforestation and ecosystem degradation.
“These activities had led to agitations by communities and youth groups and disrupted exploration activities, caused by pipeline vandalisation and in extreme cases, kidnapping and violence.”
Ambode added that the strain relationship between oil companies and their host communities also affected negotiations for compensations for land acquisition damages and spills.
“Lagos, being the home of Nigeria’s most critical commercial activities and now an oil producing state cannot afford to have any community unrests or disruption of the peace. It is imperative that our oil companies and their host communities enjoy a very warm and mutually beneficial relationship.
“We will also ensure the safety and security of our communities and operators at all times,” he said.The governor promised that government would take proactive measures to prevent oil spillage, adding that places where it happen would be cleaned up according to the globally accepted standards.
The Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Wale Oluwo, disclosed that similar committees would be set up when oil is other places where onshore and offshore prospecting is currently going on in the state.
The governor also disclosed a plan to create an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) body to strengthen the judiciary.He spoke at the commissioning of a six- courtroom high/magistrate’s court complex in Badagry, named ‘Olusola Thomas Courthouse’ after a former chief judge in the state.
The governor increased the number of judges and magistrates in the area to address the challenges faced by inadequate facilities.According to the governor, only two facilities served Badagry, residents in the Benin Republic border and Okokomaiko as magistrate’s and high court.Ambode disclosed that the road from Eric More to Okokomaiko was ongoing, adding that it would include a 10-lane project from Okokomaiko to Seme Border.
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