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Akwa Ibom group commends Reps for setting up panel on oil spills

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The Akwa Ibom Oil Producing Community Development Network (AKIPCON) has commended Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, for setting up an Ad-Hoc Committee to investigate spills in oil producing states.

President General of AKIPCON, Dr. Ufot Phenson, gave the commendation in a statement issued in Uyo, yesterday, saying the investigation was a step in the right direction to bring sanity and ensure a clean and sustainable environment in the Niger Delta region.

While applauding the House for the action, the group appealed to the Speaker and Chairman, Ad-hoc Committee on Oil Spill Clean-up and Remediation in the Oil Producing States, Amiru Turkur Idris, to invite the host communities for their representation for a balanced conclusion of the investigation.

They said the committee’s terms of reference should be amended to include details of compensations to be paid by oil companies to victims of oil spills.

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“AKIPCON commends the House of Representatives on the constitution of the Ad-Hoc Committee to investigate clean up of spillages and remediation in the oil producing states.

“We describe the initiative as a bold step in the right direction as the action is intended to bring about a clean and sustainable environment for the well-being of the Niger Delta people.

“We and other collaborating socio-economic groups in the state namely: Oil and Spill Minerals Producing Areas Landlord Association of Nigeria (OMPALAN), Host Communities of Nigeria Producing Oil and Gas (HOSCON), War Veterans, Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Market and Church Associations, Policy Alert and Advocacy Coalition for the Survival of Oil Producing Communities (ACSOBEC), have observed certain omissions in the committee’s terms of reference,” it stated.

The group stressed that the host communities of the oil producing states, who suffer the harmful economic activities of oil companies such as gas flaring and emissions, toxic waste dumping, gas leakages and emissions, among others, should be invited to make their representation or call for memoranda from them.

It said this would enable the House to have a balanced, on-the-spot reports and information that would help the committee’s investigation and final report, insisting that clean up of oil spills, remediation and payment of compensation were the key issues generating restiveness and incessant clashes between oil companies and their host communities.

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