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Lagos Assembly Seeks Suspension Of Oil Exploration

•Lawmakers want resolution of environmental issues

BASIC infrastructure must be put in place before oil production can begin in Lagos, the House of Assembly told oil exploration companies yesterday.

Oil has been discovered in commercial quantity in Badagry.

The Assembly said the government needed to prepare before the beginning of operation to avoid a repeat of the problems in Niger Delta and other oil-producing states.

The lawmakers’ reaction followeda motion at plenary by the Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Mineral Resources, Folajimi Mohammed.

The lawmaker said efforts must be made to ensure that the state does not go the way of Niger Delta and other oil producing states, which, he said, were suffering from environmental degradation, following the activities of oil companies.

Speaker Mudashiru Obasa said there was need for the government to be pro-active on the matter and learn from the past.

He said: “We must safeguard the host communities and we must commend the companies that have been investing in oil exploration in the state over the years before oil was eventually discovered.

“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,” he said.

Mohammed in the motion called for a stakeholders’ meeting to discuss the socio-economic importance of the exploration of oil and other related issues to prevent the Niger Delta experience.

He stressed that the discovery of oil in Lagos has called for the recognition of the state as an oil-producing state, but that it was important to consider the consequences of the exploration.

After extensive debate of the motion, the House passed a resolution calling for stakeholders meeting over the discovery and exploration of oil in Badagry area.

Some of the stakeholders identified by the lawmakers include exploration companies, state officials and the host communities.

Rotimi Olowo (Somolu 1), made reference to the degradation of Rivers State after the discovery of oil in the state and pointed out that adequate infrastructure should be provided for the people of the area.

He said that despite the fact that Nigerians were happy when oil was initially discovered in the country, it later turned to a source of sadness with the activities of the oil companies.

Supporting, Gbolahan Yishawu (Eti Osa 2) added that a special account should be created for the 13 per cent derivation that would accrue to the state from the Federal Government as an oil producing state.

The lawmaker from Badagry Constituency 2, David Setonji, explained that he received the news of the discovery with mixed feelings.

He expressed fears that the exploration would negatively affect his people and that a percentage of what would accrue to the state from oil revenue should be given to the area.

Another lawmaker from Badagry but who is representing Ojo Constituency 1, Victor Akande, said the oil companies should be made to employ 60 per cent Lagos residents, especially those from Badagry area.

The Deputy Speaker of the House, Wasiu Eshinlokun, observed that there was need to learn from the past with the destruction of marine life, environmental pollution and oil spillage in the Niger Delta.

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