27 November 2012

Nigeria: Oil Spill - FG Set to Implement UNEP Report On Ogoniland

The Federal Government is said to on the verge of implementing some of the recommendations of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) report on effects of oil spill in Ogoniland.

An indication to that effect emerged as Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, had restated that the Ogoniland deserved proper remediation due to the environmental degradation it had undergone.

The minister, who spoke at a stakeholders' meeting in Abuja to appraise the implementation process of the UNEP report stated that the ministry had made budgetary provisions for the execution of certain aspects of the Hydrocarbon Pollution, Restoration Project (HYPRP) project as well as the domiciliary of HYPRP within the workings of the ministry.

She said: "We cannot keep promising the people on the Delta all the time without taking any action; they deserve more than the media publicity we put up, we have to take positive actions that will translate to results in our efforts to restore the Ogoniland from this degradation."

The minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Abdulkadir Musa, added that the drafting of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and Nigerian Content policy were part of government's efforts to make the oil and gas sector work for the interest of Nigerians.

She said: "The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and our local content policy are aspects of our desire to ensure that the right things are done in operations within our petroleum sector and HYPRP is a manifestation of the need for the PIB and other laws that will make the oil and gas sector work for the interest of Nigerians.

Apart from the setting up the HYPRP to assume the responsibility of implementing recommendations in the UNEP report, government is said to have made it a duty to ensure that environmental clauses are henceforth inserted in contracts within the country's petroleum sector.

Speaking in the same vein, the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Andrew Yakubu, explained that HYPRP efforts were beginning to receive immense support from industry practitioners, adding that high standard of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) practice had been adopted amongst companies in the sector.

Yakubu said: "The NNPC has thrown its weight behind HYPRP and was involved in the review of the UNEP report. We made practical efforts to remediation issues and the industry has also keyed into these recommendations but we need to approach it holistically because the report actually throws up the question of who is the actual polluter."

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