A None Governmental Organisation (NGO), known as the Sustainability In The Extractive Industries (SITEI), has blamed conflicts on decline in production, unrest and other health related issues that led to devastation of many families especially in the Niger Delta.
Convener of SITEI Bekeme Masade, made this known at a news conference in Lagos that “SITEI’s initiative is primarily focused on physical justice for the community because we have an abundance of resources that is not being utilised as well as it should be. One of our strategies in achieving this is to start a community engagement framework for the standardisation of community engagement and CSI in the extractive industries.
Masade stated further that “the ministries have been involved in other to achieve the objective for this year which is to find a solution to local conflicts and insecurities to Nigeria’s extractive industries. We would also want to identify the best practice solutions to managing conflicts in the sector and to inspire government to develop and implement strong legal and regulatory frameworks for conflicts.”
The role of SITEI is to embed sustainability in the extractive industries which are accountable for at least 70 per cent of Nigeria’s annual revenue.
According to Masade, embedding sustainability in this critical structure is tantamount to embedding sustainability in the nation. She made it known that the 2018 edition theme scheduled for May 21 to May 22 in Abuja will be about Managing Conflict and Security in the Extractive Industries.
Besides, Meka Olowola, Chairperson, Organising Committee, SITEI said that there was a lot of misunderstanding on how to properly harness the potential of the extractive sector, “experts put the losses at close to $50 billion. Losses due to the lack of contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.”
“If we are able to resolve conflict as it affects production, as it affects the ability to bring in foreign investments, we will be doing Nigeria a lot of good,” Meka added.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu will be handling a special roundtable discussion at the event.
Meka was of the view that the minister’s presence in the dialogue “will form a special feature of SITEI to have a better and deeper dialogue with government. The primary displacement that we wish to see happen is the gulf that exist between the private sector and government as regulator. If we start to bridge that gap it will be a harbinger of very great things to come.”
Managing Director, Shoreline Natural Resources Ltd Ladi Bada said that violence was the biggest problem of the extractive industry in Africa. According to the Shoreline Natural Resources Boss, “many of the countries in Africa where there has been war and crises can be traced to significant activities in the extractive industry.
For instance, Bada revealed that “in Nigeria, many problems associated with the Niger-Delta militancy and community unrest can be linked to the extractive industries. Even in Liberia and Sierra-Leone, many of the crises there can be attributed to Diamond mining even though there is instability in government.”
He noted that sustainability goes beyond the environment, but people friendly. It means “you must be at peace with the people and host community where you are conducting your extraction from.”
Bada advised that for peace to be in the extractive environment, “you have to look at things that have to with reducing flare, oil spillages and any activity that worsens the environment.”