Lagos — Delta State governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has called for criminal investigation into the oil spill in the Niger Delta caused by oil companies which has virtually destroyed the environment.
Speaking against the backdrop of recent developments in the Gulf of Mexico, where BP has been pressured by the U.S. government to stop oil spill and pay $20 billion compensations to the victims of the spill, Governor Uduaghan insisted that similar measure should be extended to oil companies operating in region.
Governor Uduaghan in his address at the civic reception in honour of President Goodluck Jonathan in Asaba, criticized attempts in some quarters to minimize and pass the buck over who was responsible and what is the extent of damage done by oil companies.
Specifically Governor Uduaghan dismissed comments by Shell Managing Director, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu that the extent of spill was small compared to the Gulf of Mexico.
Governor Uduaghan said: "Mr. President at this point I feel the need to place before us an issue of great importance, the issue of environment. The world has become extremely sensitive about the environment and how we should relate to it. If we are in doubt, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico by BP has become a subject of global attention.
The US/ BP oil debacle makes an interesting case study. Compared to what we have here is grossly underestimated, I dare say. BP is under tremendous pressure to resolve the problem its oil spill has caused. Sums like 20 Billion Dollars victim funds is on the table in addition to a possible criminal investigation, in short the very survival of BP as a company is now an issue.
"BP, as we all know is one of the largest oil companies in the world, and it is being held accountable for its action. Now "you may ask: do we not have issues of oil spill and environmental damage here in the Niger Delta?
The answer is of course yes, even more than is commonly accepted and thus makes criminal investigation of the extent of oil damage in the Niger Delta more urgent and as compelling as what we find happening in the Gulf of Mexico with BP.
"Mr. President our environment, if I may speak in a direct personal terms, knowing that we share the same cultural and environmental experience, is in danger of complete devastation by oil spill.
The time to call the oil companies to account is now."