The Nigeria Natural Resource Charter (NNRC) has called on the Lagos State Government to adopt the NRC Framework as a tool for improved resource management given the discoveries of oil at Aje field located in Block OML 113 offshore Lagos. The Natural Resource Charter Benchmarking Framework is a tool for benchmarking a country’s management of oil, gas and minerals against global best practices. It was created in response to government and civil society demand for a practical way to measure resource governance. The NNRC made this plea to the Lagos State Government during an engagement with officials of the State on the Tuesday, 25th of September, 2018, and with local communities on the Thursday, 27th of September 2018.
This became imperative following the official declaration of Lagos State as an oil producing state with the commencement of production at the Aje Oil Field by Tunde Folawiyo Petroleum Company Limited. The State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode noted that with the discovery, Lagos State has been placed in the history books as the first state outside the Niger Delta to become an oil producing state and that it had also opened up a new page for revenue generation in the state. According to the company, the current status of the oil well had the capacity to produce at least 12,000 barrels per day, with a possibility of increasing to 25,000 or 50,000 barrels per day in the nearest future. Newly entitled to a share in the 13% derivation afforded to oil producing states, it is important that the
NNRC met with officials of Lagos State government and the local communities to help them understand the intricacies involved in the process and how easy it is for such a laudable project to turn into a curse, as evidenced by the Niger Delta region and many other oil producing regions across the world have shown. Thus, the need to embrace the NRC Framework which will help them avoid the pitfalls that accompany such projects. History has shown that wherever oil is discovered, in no distant time from such a discovery, there are often major challenges to development and all sorts of grappling issues in host communities and its environs, especially if poorly managed.
One cannot fail to mention the colossal loss of lives, not to mention the gross environmental degradation of monumental proportions- which destroys the ecosystem- associated with crude oil production. Illegal bunkering and vandalism of pipelines is rife in areas where crude oil is produced. There have been well documented reports of widespread cases where all of these have
Many are of the opinion that rather than being a blessing, the discovery of oil in Lagos might end up being a curse. Their argument is based on facts which prove that in this clime, when it comes to this sector, governments have been more reactive than they are proactive. It is hoped that the relative peace and steady overall growth being enjoyed by Lagos would not be truncated by this discovery. Lagos state is encouraged to take the necessary steps now to avoid those pitfalls and the chart a part that will encourage other states to improve their fiscal responsibility and resource management.