Abuja — The attention of the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology has been drawn to report of yet another oil spill in the Ogoni farming community, which strongly questions the sincerity of the oil companies to the environment and the general wellbeing of our people. It is disheartening that this spillage is coming on the heels of the yet to be implemented resolutions proposed to combat this menace in the form of the NOSDRA Amendment Bill.
This recent oil spill in Ogoni fishing community of Bunu in Tai Local Government Area is one spill too many and again, the time is high to revisit the United Nations Environment Programmme (UNEP) report, especially the independent assessment report conducted on the environment and public health impacts of oil contamination in the Niger Delta region. Our committee strongly feels that the issue before us need not be handled with kid gloves, the report findings must be implemented in record time to salvage what is left of the farmland and the general health of the community.
In the wake of previous spillages, we as a committee have demanded from NOSDRA, the Ministry of Environment and oil companies to as a matter of urgency furnish us with up-to-date information about their activities and incidents of spillages as well as the steps they are taking to combat these incessant oil spills. This recent spillage by Shell very close to the Shonghai farm in Rivers Sate has further plunged the community into serious famine and economic loss as the volume of oil spilled is yet to be quantified.
The Senate Committee on Environment is yet to receive a brief on this occurrence. It is imperative to get the NOSDRA Bill passed urgently, our committee will continue to push for this until the bill becomes law. The frequency of these spills and increasing oil theft is becoming worrisome, and the half-hearted approach of the agency, Ministry of Environment and the oil companies makes it difficult to carry out a thorough oversight function in the effective discharge of our duty.
We hereby urge NOSDRA to take proactive steps by furnishing the Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology with the necessary details about their preliminary findings on the cause of the latest spill, the volume of spill, planned clean up efforts and action plan to access impact on the areas affected and impact on the livelihood of the community.
SA Media to Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki (CON)
Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology