Across Africa, the extractive industry is a brutally reckless, mindless, destructive, violent and inhumane business operation. Whether it is the extraction of oil and gas, or the extraction of solid minerals, the business practices and models employed have universally degraded the environment, destroyed the livelihoods systems of communities, negatively impacted on the health of citizens, and impoverished the communities.
“Reckless crude oil extraction is violence visited on the environment and people today and an unconscionable draining of the wealth of future generations. Transparency in the extractive sector is not complete without taking cognisance of the impacts operators and operations have on the environment. ” Continuing, Nnimmo Bassey, further stated that: “Environmental rights must be seen as the human rights that they are. They are also the most commonly trampled upon rights and this results in a loss of ability of the people to enjoy any reasonable level of well-being in their land. The destruction of the Niger Delta environment calls for emergency-scale restoration actions to stem the tide of loss of lives, loss of biodiversity and loss of ethical values needed to build resilient societies. ”
Given the propensity of the extractives industry and extractive activities for the gross abuse and grievous violations of the environmental rights of communities, as well as their right to life, to dignity, to sustainable livelihoods, to health etc, our work on extractives and the environment will focus on supporting communities to organise, mobilise and build solidarity to prevent and mitigate these deleterious practices of the extractives sector.