FG Consider Stiffer Penalties for Companies Involved in Oil Spillage

A man walks through the farm land damaged by oil spill in Rukpokwu, near the oil city of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2003. Ruptured oil pipeline belonging to Shell Petroleum Development Company SPDC exploded damaging about 200 hectares of community farmlands, with oil spillage polluting fishing ponds and rendering many village farmers jobless. (AP Photo/George Osodi)

The Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, yesterday condemned the level of the devastation being caused by oil spills in the Niger Delta.

Speaking at the special weekly briefing coordinated by the Presidential Communication Team at the State House, Abuja.

She said the government planned to institute stiffer punishments for companies involved in oil spillage in the country to stop future occurrences.

She said the operating company of the OML29 had blamed the most recent oil spillage in the country on sabotage by the locals.

This is after the Santa Barbara spillage had been brought under control with necessary personnel and equipment deployed to begin recovery and remediation efforts. 

She underscored the need to put an end to artisanal refineries which had continued to cause massive pollution in the Niger Delta.

Ikeazor also said something must be done about the ongoing gas flaring as Nigeria could not be committed to zero net emission and be flaring gas at the same time. 

“On the issue of penalties, I mentioned earlier the review of NOSDRA bill. You know most of Acts we have passed years ago. You’ll see that they’ll give maybe N100 fine, anyone can pay that and go back and re-pollute.”

Asked what the government was doing to minimize the damage in Nembe, Bayelsa State due to oil spillage from OML29 Wellhead, she

likened the scenes of the spill to a site in Hiroshima, Japan, where an atomic bomb was dropped, stressed the need to strengthen the legal framework by amending National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency NOSDRA) Act.

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