The Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, yesterday described the level of devastation being caused by oil spill in the Niger Delta region as “massive”.
She spoke at the special weekly briefing coordinated by the Presidential Communication Team at the State House, Abuja.
She said the government planned to institute stiffer punishments for companies involved in oil spillage in the country to stop future occurrence.
She said the operating company of the OML29 had blamed the most recent oil spillage in the country on sabotage by the locals.
She said after several weeks, the Santa Barbara spillage had been brought under control with necessary personnel and equipment deployed to begin recovery and remediation efforts.
She underscored the need to put an end to artisanal refineries which had continued to cause pollution in the Niger Delta.
Ikeazor also said something must be done about the ongoing gas flaring as Nigeria could not be committed to zero net emission and be flaring gas at the same time.
“On the issue of penalties, I mentioned earlier the review of NOSDRA bill. You know most of Acts we have passed years ago. You’ll see that they’ll give maybe N100 fine, anyone can pay that and go back and re-pollute.”
Asked what the government was doing to minimize the damage in Nembe, Bayelsa State due to oil spillage from OML29 Wellhead, she
likened the scenes of the spill to a site in Hiroshima, Japan, where an atomic bomb was dropped, stressed the need to strengthen the legal framework by amending National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency NOSDRA) Act.