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You are here: Home / Media / Archive / 2006 / 0427

0427

media advisory
friends of the earth international
27 april, 2006

nigerian communities challenge world bank's africa gas pipeline



WASHINGTON DC (US) 27 April 2006 -- Communities from Nigeria will file today a formal claim on the West African Gas Pipeline with the inspection panel of the World Bank in Washington.

The twelve Nigerian communities claim that the World Bank's 'due diligence' on the pipeline project, led by oil giants ChevronTexaco and Shell, was deeply flawed and the cause of local disputes.

Asume Osuoka of Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria, says:

"In Nigeria, oil and gas are at the heart of severe conflicts. Not applying social and environmental policies, as the World Bank did, is a recipe for disaster. Local people are now calling on the Inspection Panel and the international community to resolve the grave problems caused by the project."

Janneke Bruil of Friends of the Earth International, says:

"The World Bank's involvement in the West African Gas Pipeline was supposed to ensure that the project would alleviate poverty. But the current situation seems to indicate that the World Bank simply is not able to implement its policies and serve the poor. The Inspection Panel is the only option left to communities to seek redress from the World Bank."

BACKGROUND:

The claim, filed today by the Association of Host Communities in Lagos State with the Inspection Panel of the World Bank, asserts that the World Bank's policies on project supervision, resettlement, environmental assessment and economic evaluation have been violated. It also points at the project's lack of local employment opportunities, its contribution to climate change and its inability to end dangerous gas flaring.

In the claim, the communities state: "We believe that the West African Gas Pipeline Project, if executed as presently conceived, would do irreparable damage to the land and consequently, destroy the livelihoods of the 12 communities. (...) we are disappointed with the complete inaction taken to address our concerns. We therefore think that this project will further impoverish the people of our communities."

The West African Gas Pipeline is a 681 km onshore and offshore pipeline that will transport natural gas from gas fields in the Western Niger Delta of Nigeria to selected consumers in Benin Republic, Togo and Ghana. The pipeline, operated by a consortium led by Royal Dutch Shell and including ChevronTexaco, obtained financial guarantees from the World Bank Group and is currently being considered for support by the European Investment Bank.

The claim follows the World Bank's Spring Meetings on April 22-23 and comes less than three weeks ahead of Shell's Shareholders Meeting in The Hague, the Netherlands, on May 16.

After receiving the claim, the Inspection Panel will determine eligibility and can proceed to undertake an investigation, which will have to be approved by the World Bank's Board of Directors.

A special report on the pipeline, "The Myths of the West African Gas Pipeline" is available online at: http://www.foei.org/publications/pdfs/wagp-inet.pdf

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT IN WASHINGTON:

Asume Osuoka, Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria: +1 202 641 2839 (only April 27), or email asume@eraction.org

Janneke Bruil, Friends of the Earth International: +1 202 492 2155 (only April 27), or email janneke@foei.org

 

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