The Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology on Monday stressed the need for a stringent law to check the high level of oil spillage in the Niger Delta.
The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Bukola Saraki, made the call in Abuja at the stakeholders' meeting on the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) Act 2006 Amendment Bill 2012.
Saraki noted that the proposed amendment of the NOSDRA Act was aimed at tougher sanctions against any oil company that refused to take responsibility for degrading the environment.
He described the existing law as being "weak, ambiguous and ineffectual" making it easy for oil companies responsible for spills to deny the affected communities appropriate compensation.
"This bill will make it harder for polluters to dodge their responsibility and compel them to pay compensation to individuals and communities who are suffering from the impact of oil spills.
"This amendment will no doubt make it economical to self-regulate the integrity of operators' facilities and infrastructure through deterring penalty regime.
"The bill establishes a very robust penalty regime which aims at encouraging environment responsibility and care. The overall principle is that the polluter must pay."
Saraki said that the decay in infrastructure and negligence by relevant agencies of government also contributed to the level of oil spills that were being recorded in the region.
He said while oil spill was reducing in other parts of the world due to the existence of effective regulators, the level of oil spills had continued to rise in Nigeria.
"Oil companies tell us that 70 per cent of oil spills are as a result of sabotage.
"But the statistics we have since authenticated suggest that 50 per cent of oil spills in Nigeria are due to corrosion of oil infrastructure including pipelines that are over 50 years old."