As part of activities to mark the 2021 World Environment Day, Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has called for the complete abrogation of the 1978 Land Use Act.
Godwin Uyi-Ojo, executive director of the non-governmental organization made the call on Tuesday at a press briefing to commemorate the World Environment Day 2021, with the theme, “Ecosystem Restoration” in Benin City, the Capital of Edo state.
Uyi-Ojo, who said the land use act has led to dispossession and caused untold hardship to communities, advocated that it should be replaced with community resources centres.
While noting that modern techniques of conservation would be encouraged to support the promotion of ecosystem restoration, he opined that the shifting cultivation system of faming being practiced by our forefathers was far better than the use of pesticides and herbicides in which serious chemicals are pumped into the food chains.
“There is the need for a radical reform or wholesale abrogation of the current land act of 1978 which has led to dispossession and caused untold hardship to our communities.
” Encourage the setting up of Community Resource Centres, train communities to manage ecosystem resources and share local best practices on living in harmony with nature through community based forests management systems that ensures environmental sustainability”, he said.
He also called on the Federal Government to set up an ecosystem restoration fund or use a substantial part of the existing ecological fund to enable the decommissioning of oil and gas wells and infrastructures as well as ecosystem destroyed by mining and extractive activities.
He further called on the Federal Government to ensure that Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and other oil multinationals that have been divesting from their onshore operations are made to pay for any damages caused by their operations to the ecosystem before they are allowed to operate the offshore facilities.
Ojo said the multinational oil companies should be made to pay $100,000 to compensate for the cleanup and remediation of the entire davastated Niger Delta region.
He explained that as a matter of urgency, the Nigeria Government and non-state actors should develop a 10-year National Ecosystem Restoration Roadmap (NERR) in consonance with the United Nations plans.