The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) said it has rolled out strategies to tackle incessant oil spills in communities in the Niger Delta.
NOSDRA Director-General, Idris Musa, disclosed this at a one-day Community-based Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) plan on Tuesday in Port Harcourt organised by NOSDRA to create awareness on the dangers of pipeline vandalism.
Represented by Oladipo Obanuwa, NOSDRA’s director, Asset Safety and Mitigation, Mr Musa said the new strategy involves the deployment of its DRR plan to all states in the region.
“The DRR plan was first carried out in Bayelsa state in 2014, and will now be replicated in other oil-producing states and transit states.
“The plan was developed by NOSDRA to create and sustain an interface with stakeholders that hitherto has not been effectively engaged in the effort to curb pipeline vandalism.
“Even though crude oil spills can sometimes occur from failure of equipment, pipeline vandalism by unscrupulous elements contributes largely to this menace.
“This menace has resulted in adverse socio-economic, health and environmental problems that have threatened the ecosystem and the people’s livelihood,” he said.
Mr Musa said the agency commenced test-running the new strategy in Ikarama and Kalada communities as well as in 25 other participating communities between May 26 and August 27 2015.
According to him, the DRR plan harmonises the roles and responsibilities of government, oil industry operators, host and transit communities, and other relevant stakeholders in addressing crude oil spills.
“So, the DRR Plan will be a community-driven, community-implemented, community-monitored and community-evaluated project.
“It also ensures that host and transit communities in collaboration with relevant stakeholders hold themselves responsible for the advocacy and protection of their immediate environment,” he explained.
Emmanuel Fienemika, the director, Inspectorate and Enforcement, Rivers State Ministry of Environment, expressed concern over activities of pipeline vandals in the state.
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He attributed the rising vandalism to the alleged refusal of pipeline owners and operators to partner and engage communities.
“Pipeline owners and operators’ failure to partner host communities has led to distrust and self-help syndrome in our communities.
“To tackle the menace of pipeline vandalism, the Rivers State Government enacted the Rivers State Environmental Protection and Management Law of 2019.
“Thereafter, we inaugurated committees on pipeline protection and preservation of oil and gas right of way, to carry out sensitisation campaigns across the communities,” he said.
Mr Fienemika urged NOSDRA to be dogged, honest and consistent in its newly-introduced programme that seeks to effectively tackle crude oil spills in the country.