Local Community Summit on Oil Divestment &Environmental Justice


The event was declared open by the convener and Executive Director of Connected Advocacy, Prince Israel Orekha, who welcomed all the participants and emphasized the imperatives of the event, underlining why the issue of local community oil divestment and environmental justice must take the center stage of discussions.

“We are the people that bear the brunt of the impact on environmental degradation and climate crisis,” he said, adding that transitioning from fossil fuels and strengthening indigenous knowledge to bridge climate action gaps is urgently needed.

He noted that against the backdrop of the recently held COP28 conference in Dubai, there is need to ensure that local community voices are heard in oil divestment and environmental justice, due to the constant neglect of local community issues at COPs, and other regional meetings.


he project was aimed to establish the “Local Community COP on Divestment and Environmental Justice”  in the Niger Delta region. This initiative was to  identify and engage communities affected by environmental pollution from oil extraction and degradation. The project focused on increasing community awareness on IOCs’ divestment plans and their implications, holding them accountable for damages to the ecosystem, livelihoods, and health.

Activities include community engagement, organizing a Local Community COP Convention, and educating communities on environmental accountability using the beneficial ownership disclosure policy. The project’s ultimate goal was to empower local communities to demand environmental justice, remediation, and an end to fossil-fuel exploitation.

The project empowers local communities, including youth, women’s groups, and traditional leaders to become advocates for environmental justice, allowing them to actively participate in decisions that affect their well-being. To hold oil companies accountable for their role in environmental degradation and empower communities to demand remediation and justice.
By fostering alliances and participation, the project strengthens community organizing strategies and amplifies the voices of impacted communities in the fight against fossil-fuel colonialism and exploitation.


 The Niger Delta has been disproportionately affected by environmental pollution due to oil extraction, resulting in widespread ecological degradation, land and water pollution, and a severe decline in the quality of life for local communities. Local communities in the Niger Delta have historically been neglected and excluded from major international climate forums like COP, despite being among the most affected by environmental harm. This project addresses this imbalance. The environmental damage in the Niger Delta is contributing to the global climate crisis. Addressing these issues locally aligns with global efforts to combat climate change. It equips local communities with knowledge and tools, such as emission reduction methods and environmental protection strategies, needed to create a sustainable and healthy environment.


Niger Delta region of Nigeria; Agbarho community played host  for the event, together with other local Community from the other Niger Delta State ,  that are interconnected and also face similar problem in Niger Delta (selected communities ).


  1. Community Organizing and mobilization strategy was deplored
  2. Engaging communication using pidgin English (Local Languages)
  3.  Upscaling indigenous perspectives and voices to demand environmental justice
  4. Asking key questions to be sure they’re on track and to ensure feedback.


  1. Sharpen local community skills to demand for environmental justice and amplify their voice through storytelling on implication of divestment without remediation.
  2. Deepen conversation on local climate actions, advancing indigenous knowledge roles, responsibilities and an opportunity to bridge the climate crisis gaps through collective impact.
  3. Create opportunities for local community to take ownership of the collective impact sessions by leading engagement to demand for environmental right before divestment
  4. Increase knowledge and strengthen participants’ skills on related policy and advocacy tools and
  5. Approaches to share knowledge from the conventional COPS and beneficial ownership disclosure

Event proceedings

The summit on oil divestment and environmental justice, an event never to be forgotten in the Agbarho local community. The event was packed with engaging conversations and dialogue from top notch speakers, Babawale Obayanju who happened to be our Speaker 1, opened the floor with the topic: ‘Environmental justice strategy for strengthening indigenous knowledge to bridge climate action gaps’, delved into the indigenous beliefs and practices of the people to establish a ground for environmental justice and Umfon Gabriel (Speaker 2) spoke on ‘Environmental accountability using the beneficial ownership disclosure policy’ he indeed shed light on IOCs divestment saga going on in Nigeria, why it’s unethical and how we can hold these polluters accountable. One of his overarching solutions was beneficial ownership disclosure..

One of the thrilling parts of the event was the women airing their deepest concerns of pollution, they complained about the scarcity of, and poorly matured fishes. They also worried about the future of their children and poor agricultural yield.

The event was well organized and strategic. Babatunde was able to connect the reality of Agbarho people to climate action. He emphasized action, he helped them see what the problem was, their implications and how they can collectively address things. Umfon Gabriel  also did exploit, one thing I took from his delivery was ‘in order to hold IOCs accountable, we must understand the legal framework underlying the whole process ” Umfon was able to implicitly reveal the limitation of the people in demanding for justice so he “empowered ” them, he showed them ways to take drastic actions.

One of his strategies is letting the people know that they have the right to demand for documentations and profiles of IOCs deals and their major stakeholders and beneficiaries. Knowing the beneficiaries, understanding the terms and conditions of the contracts etc would give the people an edge in demanding justice. He also emphasized youth empowerment and policy advocacy. The destiny of the people lies in their ability to act.



Key Takeout

  1. We’ve learnt that storytelling using pidgin is an effective way to communicate and stimulate the minds of local community inhabitants.
  2. We’ve gathered that the community heads and the people are aware of environmental degradation in their community but some are unaware of the cause, thus using the experience of the people in stamping environmental issues is an extraordinary strategy


While the program was a success, due to participant where coming from different community, we intend to keep the participant was extended to cover sessions design for the project.


  1. That IOC should pay compensation and Remediation before divestment
  2. We demand loss and damage funds for our community, to ensure environmental restoration
  3. Our Environmental issues should form Centre stage of our climate discussion
  4. Our indigenous knowledge should be upscale and amplify to tackle climate crisis
  5. That our traditional and religious leaders should champion climate action using their messages and platform


Report prepared:

Odion Greatson and John OLuwafemi