The Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology on Wednesday asked the Ministry of Environment, National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency and Exxon Mobil Oil Company to immediately furnish it with latest information on recent oil spills in the country.
The request was contained in a letter signed by the committee Chairman, Senator Bukola Saraki.
He said in a statement that the committee needed information, in particular, on the two most recent oil spills in Ibeno and Idoho areas of Akwa Ibom State.
He said, â€œThere is a growing impression today that majority of this spills are the result of sabotage. However, with the recent spills happening deep offshore, it is becoming evident that there is more to this than meets the eye.
â€œNo formal report has been made to the committee and the general public as to the exact cause, magnitude of the spills, action being taken to clean up and re-mediate the affected areas and most importantly, arrangement of compensation for the affected communities.â€
Saraki said the committee decried the frequency of these spills and the lackadaisical attitude of the agency, Ministry of Environment and ExxonMobil Nigeria â€œto provide necessary and adequate information that will enable the committee to have a first hand assessment of the incident and provide grounds for meaningful action.â€
He said, â€œThe committee stresses that this state of affairs further demonstrates the urgent need for the immediate passage of the NOSDRA Amendment Bill as only proper and up-to-date legal framework that can encourage and compel all parties involved, both on the part of the government and operators to ensure the containment of incessant oil spills in Nigeria.
â€œEnsuring that this menace is brought down to the barest minimum and where it happens, that proper clean up and re-mediation exercise are carried out.â€
Saraki said the committee asked NOSDRA to immediately furnish it with information on the initial report on the incidents and responses made so far to clean-up and contain the spill; preliminary findings as to the cause of the spills and the volume and preliminary findings as to the responsible party.
The committee, he said, asked for the preliminary findings as to the action of the responsible party to re-mediate the environment; preliminary findings as to action plan to cushion the impact on the areas specifically affected; and the preliminary findings concerning the impact on the livelihood of the communities so impacted.