By Aaron Ossai
The House of Representatives has called on the Management of all the Companies who own Oil Facilities along the Coastal to immediately contain and stop the Oil leakages from their Facilities at BEINGHENTORU RIVER affecting Foropah, Ekeni and Ezetu Kingdoms and other Communities in Southern Ijaw of Bayelsa State.
The House mandated the House Committee on Petroleum (Upstream) to synergize with relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government to carry out an extensive investigation into the immediate and remote causes of the Spillage.
This, it said, is to ascertain which company’s Facility is responsible for the Spill, remediation activities put in place to contain the Spillage and future occurrence, assess the extent of devastation and impact to the Coastal Communities of Southern Ijaw Federal Constituency and Report to the House for further Legislative action.
The House called on the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), National Oil Pollution Management Agency (NOPMA), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Federal Ministry of Environment to pay assessment visits on the site with a view to ascertaining the level of environmental damage and recommend appropriate remedial measures.
These resolutions followed the adoption of a motion of urgent importance titled URGENT NEED TO CONTAIN OIL SPILLAGE FROM OFFSHORE FACILITIES AROUND SOUTHERN IJAW COASTAL COMMUNITIES TO FORESTALL FURTHER ENVIRONMENTAL
DAMAGES sponsored by Hon. Rodney Ebikebina Ambaiowei, Member representing Southern Ijaw, Federal Constituency.
The House noted that Southern Ijaw Federal Constituency and several constituencies of the South-South Nigeria host Oil Installations, Facilities and companies in the Oil exploration, exploitation and production process in Nigeria.
It noted that several Oil companies like FIRST E& P, Connoil, NEPL, SPDC and NIGDEL UNITED OIL Company have pipelines and other facilities which traverses many coastal communities in Southern Ijaw.
It further noted that Petroleum Industry Act and the Oil Spill Recovery, Clean-Up, Remediation and Damage, Assessment Regulation, 2011 as well as the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency set out operational standards and guidelines dealing with Oil spillages to protect the environment, economic interest and health of Host Communities who bear the impact of Oil spillages and production.
The House said it was shocked that on the 3rd of January, 2024, the people of Foropah, Ekeni and Ezetu Kingdoms woke up to a devastating Oil Spillages from the Atlantic which has destroyed their only source of livelihood, which is fishing and Farming.
It said findings reveal that the Oil Spillage is occasioned by the leakages from the facilities operated by the following companies;
The motion reads, “FIRST E& P, Connoil, NEPL, SPDC and NIGDEL UNITED OIL Company who own Oil installations in and around BEINGHENTORU RIVER.Disturbed that the referenced oilfield does not only constitute one of the largest deep water operations in Nigeria, it also covers a large swathe of Southern Ijaw coastal waters. The volume of the damage recorded since 3rd of January 2024 and till date, if not quickly arrested, this leakage will lead to the pollution of the waters and their contents in the surrounding areas leading to a near-annihilation of aquatic lives which randomly show up at the coastal shores of the Middleton communities and Southern Ijaw coastal communities.
“The House of is worried that despite the prompt reporting of this incident, the slow reaction of the companies who own these Facilities around these coastal line to take responsibility couple with the lethargic attitude of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) to promptly contain the oil Spillage could lead to massive unrests among youths and other residents of the impacted Southern Ijaw coastal communities who are predominantly fishermen and women whose livelihood, health and right to clean and safe environment is being violated by the continuous spillage.”