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Senate probes Rivers explosion as IOCs urge uniform regulation

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Senate

The Senate has set up a committee headed by Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto APC) to unravel the remote and immediate causes of the pipeline explosion that killed 15 persons and injured over 50 others at Komkom community in Oyigbo Local Council of Rivers State.

The blast reported occurred when some workers from an unidentified firm were working on an oil infrastructure few days back.

At the plenary yesterday, the upper legislative chamber also urged the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) and other agencies in the oil and gas sector to improve security of oil installations nationwide.

Sympathising with the government and people of Rivers, the chamber also directed the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to visit the scene and provide succor to the victims.

The resolution of the Senate followed a motion titled “Pipeline explosion in Komkom Town of Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State” sponsored by George Sekibo (Rivers East) and three others.

Leading debate on the motion, the lawmaker added that properties worth millions of naira were consumed by the fire.

He said majority of the pipelines were laid over 50 years ago, adding that with time and usage, they might have been weak in some sections.

Sekibo noted that “this and other factors could be attributed to the incessant pipeline explosions in the Niger Delta region and other areas which have been a major source of death.

“Such explosions have always brought irreparable devastating consequences on the people and the affected areas. As it is often, such blasts usually change the environment and the livelihood of the people in the area.”

He regretted that the black gold, which seems to be a blessing to the entire nation, was becoming a curse to the host communities where both the production and distribution take place.

The Rivers legislator flayed the Federal Government for not doing enough to reduce the occurrences of these sad scenarios despite the huge foreign exchange oil fetches Nigeria.

Besides, oil and gas experts have called for a single regulatory system to drive efficiency in the sector.

The stakeholders, including the NNPC, Total E and P, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and Mobil, agreed that multiple regulations were impacting negatively on activities.

They described the current practice where several regulatory agencies are executing overlapping functions as confusing.

The stakeholders spoke at the ongoing Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition in Abuja.

Meanwhile, Senate President Ahmad Lawan has inaugurated two ad-hoc committees on Senate Legislative Agenda and Media and Public Affairs.

He charged members of the committees to see their appointments as another call to serve.

Chairmen of the panels, Adamu Aliero and Adeyeye Clement Adedayo, pledged diligence.


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