By Okunade Adekunle
Lagos State House of Assembly has called for a stakeholders’ meeting which will include exploration company, investing arms, the state government officials and host communities to discuss the socio-economic importance and likely associated issues of oil exploration in the state.
Chairman, House Committee on Mineral Resources, Hon. Folajimi Mohammed, who moved the motion noted that the effort of the state government in diversifying the economy of the state with a view to boosting revenue generation, creating employment and improving infrastructural development due to the recent oil discovery in the state is commendable.
He said he was aware of the environmental degradation that may arise from the oil exploration activities in oil producing communities and the negative effect on agriculture and other socio-economic commitment.
The lawmaker is, however, worried about the preparedness of exploratory companies, enforcement agencies and concerned Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the state in the area of the prevention and management of oil spillage and attendant problems associated with environmental degradation in the community.
While contributing to the motion, Hon. Wasiu Eshilokun stated that beyond the 13% derivation fund, there is need for Lagos State to learn from what is happening in the Niger Delta.
“It will be better to bring in government officials to brief us on what they will do in case of oil spillage and environmental degradation that may arise from the exploration,” he said.
The Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade, stated that “the lawmakers knows the expectations of the government and also the fear of the citizens, that is why we are calling on concerned state officials to fashion out better ways to protect the citizens and the environment”.
Hon. David Setonji representing Badagry Constituency I said: “I have mixed feelings when I heard crude oil was discovered in Badagry. So, let us ensure that the percentage that will be given to the state will be evenly distributed to surrounding communities and necessary steps should be taken so that we do not regret oil discovery in Badagry”.
However, the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa, stated that “in order to safeguard our state and the host-communities, there is need to put in place necessary structures to safeguard them by hosting stakeholders’ meeting between the communities and necessary government officials so that there will not be any causality.”
He further stated that even if the companies had started extracting oil, they should suspend their activities pending when the stakeholders’ meeting would be held and concluded.