Mr Idris Musa, Director General, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA
By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
The Director General, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, Mr. Idris Musa, has described as counterproductive plans by the Federal Government to cede the agency to the Department of Petroleum Resources.
Musa spoke against moves by the government to streamline some government agencies, with NOSDRA among them.
In an interview with some journalists in Abuja, Musa said the agency still has a whole lot to do especially in the Niger Delta region, which has suffered devastating oil spill impact.
He said that the proposed scraping of the agency would not only have great consequences on the environment, but will return the nation to the Dark Age.
He said NOSDRA has earned global recognition having been established through the Act of international convention charged with mandate to safeguard the maritime environment from any form of pollution.
The DG expressed optimism that the agency will be spared by the present administration to prevent the nation from having oil pollution.
According to him, “And we believe that this government too will also see reason why NOSDRA as an agency of Ministry of environment should stay and make sure we don’t have oil pollution.
Musa said the agency was not given opportunity to present it’s position before the Steve Oronsaye Committee during the submission of papers, Musa recalled, “I think the report been as it was, either, the members of the Oronseye Committee did not understand what the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan stands for.
“And the agency in charge of implementation of it and also supervising in ensuring compliance with environmental regulatory in the petroleum industry did not understand it or, they chose not to understand.
“I recall when that Committee was on, we were invited, we went in there, we submitted all the papers that we had to present just as we are addressing you here.
“But to our dismay, the committee Chairman did not take our submission. That was just the truth. He just said, well from NOSDRA, we know NOSDRA, we know what to do with NOSDRA. No comment at all.
“We were not given the opportunity to even make the presentation as to what we do, how are we created. This agency was not administratively set up, this agency was set up by an Act of Parliament. And it was not set up for the sake of setting it up; it was set up in response to an international convention.
“And apart from that international convention, which was signed to by so many countries in the world, there was also another convention called Abidjan Convention, that is the sub-regional for ECOWAS countries.
“And one thing or the other, the Committee felt NOSDRA should be scrapped. If you scrapped it, you are taking us back to the scenario I explained earlier.
“When there was no contingency plan and National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, we knew what we experienced; it is like going back to Egypt. It will take us far back.
“But again, graciously enough, when this report was presented to the government and the white paper was issued on it, the white paper did not accent to the fact that the report said scrap NOSDRA. Rather, it said noted.”
The DG noted that the plans to cede the NOSDRA, an agency under the Ministry of Environment to the Department of Petroleum Resources would be counterproductive.
He said though, when verified the remarks in the white paper pointed that NOSDRA should not be scrapped, adding, “Until the present administration takes a look at Oronseye Report.
“And we believe that this government too will also see reason why NOSDRA as an agency of Ministry of environment should stay and make sure we don’t have oil pollution.”
Musa recalled that it was the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan that later give birth to National oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, under the civilian administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo.