The newly appointed Director General/Chief Executive of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Musa Idris, has said he will pay more attention to areas of underground water pollution,and ensure timely, effective and appropriate response to oil spills.
Idris, who stated this on Monday while delivering his acceptance speech in Abuja, also said he will ensure that the laboratory and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) was working this time around and monitor the creeks where oil wells are scattered in the Niger Delta.
He said ground water pollution today cut across the oil producing areas because of the underground storage tanks.
Going by UNEP report on Ogoniland, he said: "The difference between the heavily and less impacted sites lies with the ground water pollution and that is what we call category A position and that is going to cost a lot of money than regulating the soil."
"Most filling stations have never been seen excavating those tanks to check the integrity of the tanks ever since they were buried underground and it is not as if there were any protections," he said.
The new DG explained that since inception of NOSDRA, they have done a lot on the upstream sector. "We have made a lot of sanctions and oil companies have known us for what we stand for but we have not really gone down to the other side; we are absent completely in the downstream."
He said NOSDRA is a specialized agency, stressing that "while we do not have enough fund like those we regulate, we must not lack competence as that is the only way they can respect us."
He said the next level is to put staff, mandate, working tools and various collaborations in the right track, as well as to pay special attention to the zonal offices as that is the only way the headquarters will succeed.
He however urged the directors, deputy directors and other staff to live by example, saying, "As a regulator you must be able to know more than those you are regulating; you must be conversant with what regulations stand for."
Meanwhile, a director, Obenewa Oladipo who represented the outgoing DG, Sir Peter Idabor urged the new NOSDRA boss to pursue the amendment of the bill with vigour to ensure that President Muhammadu Buhari signed it into law.
He said they would give him the necessary support to ensure that his plan for the agency succeeded.