23 November 2012

Nigeria: Group to Hold Workshop On Niger Delta Oil Spill

The United States Department of State, Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund Project, is to hold a two-day stakeholders' workshop on alternative ways of cleaning oil spills in the Niger Delta.

A statement by the Team Leader, Dr Morufat Balogun and Dr Moji Edema, chairperson, publicity committee, stated that the workshop would hold on Nov. 28 and Nov. 29, at the International Students' Centre, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers.

The workshop, which has as its theme: "Clean the Spills: Going Green in the Niger Delta" will witness practical ways of using 'Kenaf', a local plant, to clean oil spills.

Already, more than 100 stakeholders have signified their intention to attend the workshop.

Edema said that Gov. Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers would be the chief host while the Vice Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Joseph Ajienka, would be the host.

She added that Dr Christian Oboh, Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was expected to be the chairman of the occasion.

She said that other stakeholders in the oil communities as well as the affected rural communities in the Niger Delta would participate.

Balogun said the workshop was in partnership with the University of Ibadan, Institute of Agriculture Research and Training (IAR&T) and National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).

She said the mission of the team was "to be foremost in community integration and use of local plants for oil spill clean-up in Nigeria's Niger Delta by developing sustainable strategies that are prompt and acceptable to stakeholders with no threat to the environment".

She said the Kenaf Clean-up team comprises 40 members, 16 of whom were U.S. alumni and 24 volunteers, exceptionally skilled and diverse in their chosen professions and spread across Nigerian universities, agencies, private sector and research institutes.

Balogun, a lecturer at the University of Ibadan, said the workshop would also brainstorm on how to develop community integrated and acceptable strategy.

NAN reported that about 1.89 million barrels of petroleum were spilled into the Niger Delta between 1976 and 1996 out of a total of 2.4 million barrels spilled in 4,835 incidents (approximately 220,000 cubic metres).

The largest spill, Bonga spill, whose area covered more than 923 square kilometres, and no lesser than 40,000 barrels of crude, was spilled into the Atlantic Ocean in 2011.

The group believes that using kenaf local plant in cleaning up exercises have an advantage of being environment friendly and integrated into farming systems.


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