The Federal Government has revealed plans to the law establishing the National Oil Spillage Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) Act, to give it “the needed teeth to bite.”
The amendment will also herald stricter penalties against oil companies involved in oil spillage in the Niger Delta.
The proposed review follows the inability Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company (AEEPCO), and its joint venture partners to clamp the hydrocarbon leak from its well head in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29, at the Santa Barbara River, which spewed oil and gas for more than three weeks.
Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, revealed this yesterday, at the weekly ministerial press briefing organised by the Presidential media team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
She said: “We need to put a strong legal framework to stop the oil spills that are going on. The devastation in the Niger Delta is massive — this is something we need to tackle headlong.
“We need to review the NOSDRA Act— National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency. We need to put stiffer penalties in place to be able to have the teeth to bite. The government is working to create alternative livelihood for the communities to be able to move them away from illegal activities.”
Ikeazor also said her Ministry is engaging other relevant government agencies to achieve this and working to amend the existing law.
We need to put a strong legal framework to stop the oil spills that are going on. The devastation in the Niger Delta is massive — this is something we need to tackle headlong.
She further revealed that Aiteo has blamed the most recent oil spillage on sabotage by the locals, even as she announced that the Santa Barbara spillage has been brought under control after weeks the incident occurred.
She said this was done through the necessary personnel and equipment deployed to begin recovery and remediation efforts.
Reiterating the need to put an end to artisanal refineries, she noted that this has continued to cause pollution in the Niger Delta, and decried the high rate of deaths from smoke especially among women in Nigeria.
According to her, Nigeria ranks the highest in the global list of death cases arising from smoke inhalation.
She therefore said something must be done about the ongoing gas flaring, noting that the country cannot be committed to net zero emission by 2060, and still be involved in indiscriminate gas flaring at the same time.