COMMUNIQUE OF " THE INFORMATION AND CONSULTATIVE MEETING ON THE WEST
AFRICAN GAS PIPELINE" HELD AT WARRI, DELTA STATE, NIGERIA BETWEEN MARCH 14 - 15, 2000


PREAMBLE

At a two day "Information and Consultative Meeting on the West
African Gas Pipeline" attended by representatives of oil and gas
bearing communities in Nigeria; delegates from Ghana, Togo and Benin
Republic; social movement and NGO activists; academics; academics,
journalists and researchers, the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) as
presently conceived by its sponsors was roundly rejected.

OBSERVATIONS

Participants noted that:

    1.. although the WAGP was conceived before 1996 and a Memorandum
of Understanding of WAGP signed as far back as August, 1999, the
project's sponsors are yet to conduct an all inclusive Environmental
Impact Assessment (EIA) study, contrary to local and international
environmental regulations like Principle 17 of the Rio Declaration.
The absence of an EIA is a clear indication that environmental
considerations are not in the agenda of the WAGP consortium;
    2.. the processes leading to the project has not been
participatory as none of the communities to be affected has been
consulted;
    3.. the entire WAGP project has been shrouded in secrecy by its
sponsors who are behaving as if neither the people nor their
communities count. It is so bad that even information emanating from
the designated managing sponsor of the project has been scanty and
self-contradictory. For instance, information made available to
groups in Nigeria, Ghana and Togo on the Pipeline route are
contradictory;
    4.. although Chevron Nigeria Limited is, in principle, the
Managing Sponsor of the WAGP, powers of decision-making neither lies
with it nor with other members of the consortium, namely: Ghana
National Petroleum Corporation, Nigerian National Petroleum
Corporation, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited,
Societe Beninoise de Gaz S.A. and Societe Togolaise de Gaz S.A but
with Chevron Global Technology Services based in Houston, Texas, USA
which is dealing with all questions regarding the project;
    5.. although the project has been promoted as capable of creating
20, 000 jobs, more than 50, 000 families would be dislocated;
    6.. despite a prior invitation and even a promise to attend the
meeting, Chevron Nigeria Limited which is the designated Managing
Sponsor failed to turn up. This is a continuation of the established
tradition of transnational corporations treating local people and
groups with disdain;
    7.. The consortium's claim that the WAGP will lead to a reduction
of gas flaring in Nigeria is inconsistent with its lead role as a
part of the oil industry lobby opposed to gas reduction and
supportive of fossil fuel exploitation. More significantly, it is not
clear whether the flaring of associated gas, which is the gas being
flared in Nigeria's Niger Delta will really be reduced as a result of
this project;
    8.. The project will exacerbate the existing crisis over
resources as the matter of resource ownership, control and management
is yet to be democratically resolved.
RESOLUTIONS

BASED on the above observations, the meeting resolved as follows:

    1.. we reject the WAGP because the fears of the local communities
who matter most have not been addressed. These fears include: the
absence of an all-inclusive EIA, the grave environmental devastation
that will result from the project like deforestation, explosions,
breaking up of habitats and wildlife corridors and blocking of water
bodies; cultural dislocation as well as economic impoverishment;
    2.. to set up a network of communities to be affected by the
project as well as civil society groups working on the WAGP;
    3.. to petition the World Bank not to support or promote the
WAGP;
    4.. to embark on empowerment education concerning the impacts of
the project;
    5.. to challenge the WAGP politically and legally until the
objective fears of the of the local people are met and
    6.. to condemn the concept of "carbon credit" and state that
Chevron and other members of the consortium have never been
environmentally friendly in their operations.




NNIMMO BASSEY

Chair, Oilwatch Africa

Director, Environmental Rights Action / Friends of the Earth, Nigeria