King Baridam Warns Against Risky Divestment Without Environmental Accountability

The paramount ruler of Ancient Bangha Kingdom in Nyokhana District in Khana Local Government Area, and Chairman, Khana Area Council of Traditional Rulers, His Majesty, King Dr. Baridam Suanu Timothy Yormaadam, has criticized the practice of oil companies divesting without taking environmental accountability into consideration.

According to King Baridam, who is also the Kasimene Bangha VIII and paramount ruler Luumene Bangha, such a risky practice poses threats to both the environment and the communities affected by pollution and other forms of environmental damage.

King Baridam who made these remarks during a round table debate on Host Community Development Trusts (HCDTs) recently organized by Spaces for Change in Lagos explained that lack of accountability, often leads to delays in environmental cleanup and remediation efforts.

In his address, King Baridam emphasized the dangers associated with divestment without environmental accountability, arguing that when companies or individuals divest from environmentally harmful industries without assuming responsibility for the consequences, they are essentially evading accountability for the damage they caused.

“The responsible parties no longer feel compelled to take action to address the issues they have caused, which results in persistent pollution, habitat destruction, and other environmental problems. Consequently, both the natural world and the communities reliant on it continue to suffer”, he said.

King Baridam highlighted that the absence of accountability in divestment practices can also lead to a lack of fair compensation for affected communities, noting that when companies and individuals divest from environmentally harmful industries without acknowledging their role in the damage, affected communities face significant challenges in seeking compensation for the harm they have endured.

“This perpetuates environmental injustice and inequality, as those most affected by environmental damage are left to bear the consequences without any support or means of recourse for their losses”, he said.

To genuinely tackle the environmental and social impacts of divestment, the King stressed the necessity for those choosing to divest from environmentally harmful industries to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

This, he went on, entails supporting environmental cleanup and remediation initiatives, providing fair compensation to affected communities, and actively working to prevent future harm, adding that only through a commitment to environmental accountability can divestment truly serve as a positive force for change, concluded the king.

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