ERA/FOEN decries alleged tardiness in Ogoniland cleanup
Except the Federal Government faithfully addresses the lapses in the oil and gas sector and multiplicity of agencies, the environmental degradation in the Niger Delta might not abate, stakeholders have warned.
At a validation workshop organised by the Institute for Oil, Gas, Energy, Environment and Suitability (OGEES), Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti in Abuja yesterday, the experts maintained that the overlapping statutory responsibilities of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) were unacceptable.
The Executive Director of OGEES, Prof. Damilola Olawuyi, called for the merger of the regulators for effective tackling of the nation’s growing environmental challenges.
He and others harped on a comprehensive environmental regulation, robust stakeholders’ engagement, strategies, guidelines, an independent auditor as well as prompt information channels to check the ugly situation.
Olawuyi contended that leaving the audit work in the hands of DPR was at variance with international best practices.
According to him, the regulator could not issue licences, and at the same time, effectively monitor operators to play by the rules.
The stakeholders regretted that the prevailing situation had allegedly hampered the implementation of the Environmental Guidelines and Standards for the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria (EGASPIN) birthed in 1991 by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.
Policy Analyst at Qatar Foundation, Umair Dogar, noted that compliance with extant laws as well as transparency and involvement of citizens was critical to addressing the problem at hand.
However, the Environmental Rights Action, Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has decried the alleged ‘lip service’ to the Ogoniland cleanup and restoration of other parts of the Niger Delta, warning that the development bodes catastrophe.
Its Executive Director, Dr. Godwin Ojo, regretted that so much lives had been loss on account on government and oil firm’s alleged indifference to the issues.
He canvassed the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy, urging government to adopt a policy statement in that respect.
Ojo spoke at the 2018 yearly National Environmental Congress with the theme, Post-Extractivism: Energy Democracy for National Development, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.