An environmental and human rights group, Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ) has expressed disappointment over the conduct of the Federal Government, the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and International Oil Companies (IOCs), to the fire outbreak on the Trans-Forcados Pipeline around Chanomi Creek in Yeye community in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.
CEPEJ’s National Coordinator, Comrade Sheriff Mulade described the lack urgent attention to the fire incident as utter “disregard for the safety of the Niger Delta environment displayed by those benefiting from the resources of the region”.
Mulade condemned the ‘negligence exhibited’ by NOSDRA, the government agency established to cater for the people and the environment of the oil region. He noted that avoidable disasters had been allowed to wreak havoc on innocent people and the environment due to lack of proactive measures.
He alleged that the fire incident which occurred Saturday night at about 11:45pm, when residents were already asleep, was caused by ongoing repair works at a spill site that led to the casualty of a worker and several degree of injury sustained by people.
Mulade noted that CEPEJ’s criticism of NOSDRA was due to the agency’s alleged neglect of the NGO’s invitation to the Director General to visit communities and creeks in the Niger Delta Region affected by oil spill to enable him have personal knowledge of the situation.
He said NOSDRA’s negligence has caused numerous oil spills and related environmental disasters, alleging that the agency lacks adequate information on the numerous oil spills in the region to enable it discharge its statutory functions effectively
Comrade Mulade reminded NOSDRA that several explosions of oil and gas pipelines had caused far-reaching environmental and ecological disasters. He attributed these to the substandard oil and gas transportation facilities that were often unchecked before usage, thereby leading to leakage, spills and explosions that have gone on in the region.
He said NOSDRA allegedly failed to give a correct evaluation of the volumes of crude oil and gas that have been discharged into the environment due to various explosions, leakages, equipment failures and third party interferences, as well as
NOSDRA’s alleged failure to inspect pipelines that were due for remedial maintenance.
The environmentalist however called on IOCs operating in the area to provide relief materials to affected communities, urging the people to vacate the area to prevent health-related implications such as terminal diseases.
He urged the IOCs, the Federal Government and NOSDRA to save the lives of residents and their environment.