Wednesday, 8th December 2021
<To guardian.ng
Search
Breaking News:

FG threatens oil firms with sanction over spillage

By Terhemba Daka, Abuja
26 November 2021   |   2:55 am
Federal Government, yesterday, announced its resolve to apply stiffer sanctions against oil companies linked to spillage in the country.

[FILES] Site of an oil spillage PHOTO:Pius Utomi Ekpei / AFP

Plans to meet with Ogoni communities

Federal Government, yesterday, announced its resolve to apply stiffer sanctions against oil companies linked to spillage in the country.

It also expressed concern over the level of devastation in the Niger Delta region, describing it as massive.

Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, stated this at a weekly briefing organised by the Presidential Media Team in the State House.

According to her, the government has also concluded plans to meet with stakeholders in Ogoni land on the cleanup of the area, with a view to getting their assessment of results achieved so far.

Her ministry, she added, would engage relevant government agencies towards achieving success in the cleanup programme.

It was also gathered that a bill was being worked on to amend the law establishing the National Oil Spillage Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) to boost its capacity and give it “the needed teeth to bite.”

She said: “This is something we must tackle headlong. We are beyond talking and having workshops. On the issue of penalties, I mentioned earlier the review of NOSDRA bill. We need to put stiffer penalties, build the capacity of NOSDRA, which is the regulatory agency in the oil sector to be able to have the teeth to bite. Without enhancing their capacity and reaffirming the legal framework, getting it stronger, they can’t do much. These are areas we are looking into, it has to stop.”

According to the minister, the company operating OML29 in Nembe, Bayelsa State has blamed recent oil spillage in the country on sabotage by locals.

She announced that the Santa Barbara spillage had been brought under control after weeks it began, with “necessary personnel” and equipment deployed to begin recovery and remediation efforts.

Ikeazor stressed the need to put an end to artisanal refineries, which she said had continued to cause pollution in the Niger Delta.

On the high price of cooking gas, the minister said: “I am extremely worried because the rate of cutting down trees has increased.”