It is no news that oil producing communities bear the brunt of oil exploration and production. Decades of unregulated oil operations have left communities devastated and in many cases, totally stripped of their sources of livelihood, coupled with the destruction of their environment. Among several pioneering provisions, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) introduced initiatives aimed at increasing the participation of oil producing communities in the oil and gas sector, as well as promoting environmental sustainability in the areas where oil exploration and production take place. It recognizes that oil operations (including seismic operations, mining, oil spill resulting from equipment failure, human error, corrosion etc) can cause damage to private property rights such as lands, buildings, economic trees, crops, fishing rights and equipment, water sources and venerated objects.
With the objective of laying a foundation for legislative engagement towards the passage of the PIB, SPACES FOR CHANGE (S4C) conducted an analysis of the critical provisions in the oil reform bill relating to community participation and the environment, in order to identify social priorities, issues and gaps deserving of further legislative scrutiny. On February 26, 2013, S4C presented the draft report of its analytical study to traditional rulers and members of indigenous oil producing communities in the Niger Delta. The report presentation was held in Bori, Ogoni, Rivers State with a broad spectrum of traditional rulers, women and youth leaders in attendance. Here are photos from the event: