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Don calls for stakeholders input to IOCs’ exit plans

By Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt
26 April 2022   |   4:00 am
Following moves by International Oil Companies(IOCs) operating in Nigeria to divest and leave the country, a lecturer in the Department of Sociology, University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Sofiri Peterside, has advocated critical stakeholders engagement to discuss and agree on a course of action.

Following moves by International Oil Companies(IOCs) operating in Nigeria to divest and leave the country, a lecturer in the Department of Sociology, University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Sofiri Peterside, has advocated critical stakeholders engagement to discuss and agree on a course of action.

Speaking, yesterday, in Port Harcourt at a one-day Civil Society Organisation and Media Roundtable on the divestment of oil companies, organised by the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Peterside explained that since communities, residents would be affected by the divestment, it was necessary to come together to discuss.

The Uniport Senior Lecturer said stakeholders should collectively develop plans and reach agreements on how to handle intended and unintended consequences of divestment.

In a presentation titled, “Neo-Liberal Approach To Divestment: The Case Of Niger Delta,” Peterside, stated that some of the reasons adduced for divestment, which include global push for energy transition; crisis prone operational environment and the urgent need to diversify to renewable energy have unpalatable consequences for Nigeria.

Reacting to the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) submission on the underlying reasons for divestment, where it blamed recurrent issues of oil theft and vandalism of onshore oil infrastructure as reasons for divestment, the don regretted that it showed that the future of the country had gradually been mortgaged to oil companies.

“Consequently, it is important to call attention to an aspect of government’s underlying economic reform paradigm-neoliberalism, especially its anti-people implications, which the divestment represents,” Peterside stated.

He observed that neo-liberalism as economic policies had become widespread in the last 25 years or more.