Nigeria: Aggah residents reach ground breaking agreement with Italian energy company ENI to mitigate flooding

Author: OECD Watch, Published on: 7 October 2019

‘eand Nigerian community reach historic agreement to mitigate chronic flooding of village’ 2 October 2019

Port Harcourt, Benin City, Accra, Rome, Paris - 8 October 2019 — After years of battle, residents of the community of Aggah in Rivers State, Nigeria, finally have hope for relief from the floods that have plagued them for five decades, thanks to a ground-breaking agreement with Italian energy company ENI S.p.a published on 2 October 2019. A community association, Egbema Voice of Freedom (EVF), and its representatives, Advocates for Community Alternatives (ACA) and Chima Williams & Associates (CWA), had filed a complaint against ENI in front of Italy's OECD National Contact Point on 15 December 2017, with the support of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

The complaint stressed the devastating impacts the flooding had on the health, property, livelihoods and environment of the Aggah community. It was submitted under the OECD Guidelines, which establish international standards of corporate conduct to which Italy and its corporations are committed. In a rare successful case before an OECD National Contact Point (NCP), the agreement addresses the essential concern of the complainants, i.e. the urgent construction of drainage solutions to mitigate the flooding and a potential resort to a technical expert if more efforts are needed.

“We are celebrating this news in Aggah.  The agreement is an achievement that follows years of battle to get ENI and its subsidiary NAOC to act to resolve the flooding they have created. We remain however vigilant on how the company and its Nigerian subsidiary will implement the agreement,” affirmed Pastor Evaristus Nicholas, spokesperson for Egbema Voice of Freedom…“The community had been asking NAOC, ENI's Nigerian subsidiary, to fix the flooding problem for years, but to no avail,” said Jonathan Kaufman, Executive Director of ACA.  “The game changed when we went to Italy on the basis of the OECD Guidelines, which apply to all Italian companies, and asked ENI to take responsibility for what was happening on the ground in Aggah.”

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