The Lagos State House of Assembly on Monday called for a stakeholders’ meeting of government officials, oil investors and host communities, following oil discovery and exploration in Badagry area.
The call followed a motion moved by Mr Folajimi Mohammed (APC-Ikeja I) on the need for the state to be proactive in protecting the host communities from environmental degradation.
The motion was seconded by Mr Gbolahan Yishawu (APC-Eti Osa II).
Mohammed, Chairman, House Committee on Energy and Mineral Resources, urged the state government to do everything possible to protect the people and the communities within area of exploration.
According to him, the stakeholders’ meeting has become crucial to adequately prepare to prevent a repetition of the current agitation in the Niger Delta over environmental degradation.
He said, “The stakeholders should come together to discuss the socio-economic importance of the exploration of oil in the state and related issues.
“Efforts must be made to ensure that the state does not go the way of Niger Delta and other oil-producing states in Nigeria who are suffering from environmental degradation with the activities of oil companies.
“The discovery of oil in the state has made Lagos an oil-producing state but it is important to consider the consequences of the exploration.”
Yishawu, Chairman, House Committee on Waterfront Infrastructure said, “We need to learn from oil exploration in Niger Delta. We do not want a repeat of what is happing in the Niger Delta’’.
The Chairman, House Committee on Budget and Economic Planning, Mr Rotimi Olowo, called for a development plan by the investors to protect the environment and the people.
He said, “Our target should not be limited to environmental protection of the area; we need to talk on the infrastructure and economic gains by the people and their communities.
The Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni said, “Oil spillage will come; there is going to be oil degradation of environment and we need to be proactive’’.
Mr Setonji David (APC-Badagry II) said that he received the news of the oil discovery in the area with mixed feelings because of the environmental degradation in Niger Delta occasioned by oil exploration companies.
David, the Chairman, House Committee on Physical Planning and Urban Development said, “I hope our communities will not be devastate’’.
“Fishing activities would be affected in the area if the government does not do anything about it.
“We need Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the discovery to know what would eventually happen to our people, when exploration starts.
“We should take all the necessary steps so that we would not regret the discovery. There is need for proper steps to ameliorate the environmental implications.”
The lawmaker said that a percentage of whatever would be accruable to the government should be dedicated for the development of the area.
He, however, expressed confidence in the ability of the state government to protect the host communities.
The Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa said, “There is a need for us to be proactive and learn from the past so that we can safeguard our state and host communities.’’
Obasa suggested that there should be a stakeholders’ meeting which would bring the host communities, government officials and investors together to avoid what happened in Niger Delta.
He said, “We must safeguard the host communities and we must commend companies that have been investing in oil exploration in the state over the years before oil was eventually discovered there.
“All necessary infrastructures must be put in place to protect the state and the host communities so that we would prevent what is happening in Niger Delta from happening in Lagos State.”
Obasa said that oil companies had to stop exploration if they had started so that the state government would be better prepared before they start operation.
The speaker, who commended investors in oil exploration, said that the state would benefit a lot from the exploration, adding that the state government would encourage the investors.
The Federal Executive Council recently approved the exploration of oil in Badagry and 13 per cent derivation for the Lagos State.