The Oil Justice Movement (OJM), a movement of patriotic Nigerians committed to justice in oil producing communities and states in Nigeria organized a roundtable on Oil, Politics and Security on 3rd July, 2012 at Bolton White Hotel, Abuja.
The roundtable was attended by scholars, politicians, legislators, civil society organizations and the media.
The roundtable observed as follows:
1. The notion of justice is basic to peace and security in any society and it incorporates a lot of issues including ethics, rationality, law and equity
2. Whenever there is justice, there is fairness and every party is given its due
3.Oil is very important in the economy of many countries in Africa including Nigeria, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Angola, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Sudan and more recently Ghana.
4.The discovery, exploration, exploitation and derivation of benefits from the proceeds of oil is generating conflict and violence between communities and states.
5.The politics of oil is leading to the redrawing of the boundaries between communities and states and is generating conflicts and violence.
6.Oil has caused a lot of problems and injustice in Nigeria. Communities where oil is found are poorer than other communities and there is a greater tendency to conflict and violence.
7.The United Nations Declaration on Human Rights guarantees the right of people to a nationality.
8.The people of Bakassi were not given the opportunity to determine in a plebiscite which country they want to be in accordance with international principles but was awarded to Cameroun by the International Court of Justice.
9.The circumstances surrounding the ceding of Bakassi to Cameroun and the resultant disagreement between Akwa Ibom and Cross River State is creating huge tension, social dislocation and conflict.
10.The boundary adjustment which awarded the oil wells to Akwa Ibom State is contributing to the tension and conflict between the two States.
11.The situation between has consequence for security and sovereignty particularly as the area borders three other countries namely Cameroun, Sao Tome and Principe and Equatorial Guinea.
12.The ten year period within which appeal can be made on the ICJ judgment is coming to an end by 10th October, 2012.
After exhaustive deliberations, the roundtable resolved as follows:
1. Oil bearing communities should benefit from oil revenues including payment of royalties, participation by the citizens, job opportunities on oil companies, contract to competent local contractors, local content development and provision of infrastructure and social services.
2.Oil bearing communities should benefit from payment to states based on derivation formula and not mismanaged or embezzled by Politicians and bureaucrats.
3.The management of proceeds from oil must be such that it benefits all Nigerians to decrease the tendency for struggle for oil resources thereby compromising peace and security.
4.There is the need for peace education and transformative conflict management across communities and states in a way that will promote justice, equity, fair play and harmony.
5. Participation of communities and states on matters involving oil exploration, exploitation and derivation of benefits is key to peaceful and harmonious existence
6.The Federal Government must ensure that the rights of the people of Bakassi are protected in line with international human rights principles (Article 15 and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
7.The Federal Government, Akwa Ibom State and Cross River State must manage the challenges in a peaceful manner.
8. The Federal Government of Nigeria should appeal against the judgment before the expiration of that period ie 10th October, 2012 given the concerns by the people of Bakassi, new facts that the agreement on which the judgment was made was never signed (the Anglo-German treaty of 11 th March, 1913) and the alleged violation of the Green Tree Agreement by Cameroun.
The round table resolved to campaign and advocate for oil Justice, advocate for legal and institutional arrangement that will promote peaceful co-existence among oil bearing communities and states and to advocate for turning resource course into blessing in Nigeria.
Mr. Eddy Aghanenu
Dr.Otive gbuzor Co-Ordinator,
LSD, Asaba & Abuja.
Mr. Dotun Atialde
Media Capacity Centre, Lagos