Following environmental degradation in the Niger Delta region, there are indications that the Federal Government may be mulling stiffer punishments against some multinational companies involved in oil spillage in the country.
Sharon Ikeazor, the Minister of Environment, gave the hint at the weekly ministerial press briefing organized by the presidential media team on Thursday at the presidential villa, Abuja.
According to Ikeazor, talks are ongoing between the ministry and other relevant government agencies to achieve this.
She explained that a bill is being worked out to modify the law establishing the National Oil Spillage Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) to build its capacity and give it “the needed teeth to bite.”
Ikeazor said, “We need to put stiffer penalties, build the capacity of NOSDRA, which is the regulatory agency in the oil sector, to be able to have the teeth to bite.
“Without enhancing their capacity and reaffirming the legal framework, getting it stronger, they can’t do much. These are areas we’re looking into. It has to stop.
“Government is working on alternative livelihood for the communities so that we can move them away from illegal activities and further polluting of the environment.”
Ikeazor said the operating company of the OML29 in Nembe, Bayelsa State, had blamed the most recent oil spill in Nigeria on sabotage by the locals.
She, however, revealed that the Santa Barbara spillage had been brought under control after several weeks the incident occurred with necessary personnel and equipment deployed to begin recovery and remediation efforts.
The minister stressed the need to put an end to artisanal refineries, which she said had continued to cause pollution in the Niger Delta.
Ikeazor said, “On the Santa Babara ITO oil spills, you remember the ministry of environment issued a statement stating what happened and the action being taken.
“We are going to have a targeted approach to illegal bunkering, tampering with oil installation and artisanal mining in the Niger Delta to get an alternative livelihood for the young people of the Niger Delta, so that they would desist from this because it’s further polluting the environment.
“I got briefings through the director of NOSDRA, and what I saw in terms of the pollution either through oil refining or illegal oil refining and otherwise the devastation of the Niger Delta is massive. As we’re cleaning up, what we’re cleaning up is minute compared to the devastation going on.
“So, it’s something that the government needs to tackle headlong. I hope they would’ve put the picture on. It was like a Hiroshima site.
“We are beyond talking and having a workshop. On the issue of penalties, I mentioned earlier the review of the NOSDRA bill. You know most of the Acts we have passed years ago. You’ll see that they will give maybe an N100,000 fine. Anyone can pay that and go back and re-pollute.”
EndSARS: No Peace Without Justice, Eedris Abdulkareem To Sanwo-Olu
Nigerian Music legend, Eedris Abdulkareem has condemned Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu over his invitation for a peace walk in Lagos State.
Sanwo-Olu, in a speech on Tuesday on the Lekki shootings of October 20, 2020, said he will be leading a Walk for Peace in December to herald the “healing of our land”.
“Let me use this occasion to extend an open invitation to our youths, members of the diplomatic corps, civil society groups, students, and the media as well as other stakeholders to join me,” he said.
He specifically extended invitations to Falana, Adebayo, Dele Farotimi, Temitope Majekodunmi, Segun Awosanya (Segalink), Adedotun (Just Detoun), Seun Kuti; Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu; and Commander of Rapid Response Squad CSP Yinka Egbeyemi and others to join him in the “historic march for our dear Lagos.”
Falz and Mr Macaroni have since rejected the invitation as they demanded justice of those allegedly killed during the EndSARS protest before peace can be restored.
Eedris, taking to his Instagram page described the invitation for the walk of peace as being dead on arrival.
According to him, no amount of walking can get Nigeria to the destination of peace without the route of justice.
His post read, “Dead On Arrival; No amount of walking can get us to the destination of peace without taking the honourable route of justice.
“Sanwo-Olu your walk of peace is dead on arrival.”
BREAKING: Court Dismisses Suit Seeking Soludo’s Disqualification As Anambra Governor-elect
A Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a suit seeking the disqualification of Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo as the governor-elect of Anambra State.
Justice Taiwo Oladipupo Taiwo, in a judgment, described the suit as frivolous, irritating, and lacking in merit.
The judge awarded a punitive cost of N2 million against the two plaintiffs to be paid to Soludo and his deputy, Ibezim.
‘Why We Will Allow ‘Repentant’ Boko Haram Terrorists To Go Scot-free’—Borno Gov
Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum has said the state government will not prosecute ‘repentant’ Boko Haram insurgents.
While presenting the 2022 budget at the State House Of Assembly on Tuesday, Zulum said terrorists will not be encouraged to eschew violence if they see ‘repentant’ ones being prosecuted.
Addressing the House of Assembly, the governor said, “Mr. Speaker, honourable members, we need Allah’s guidance and the utmost wisdom to work for an end to the crisis facing our dear state.
“Prosecuting all the criminals (insurgents) would have been most appropriate but if we insist on it, we would discourage others out there that are willing to lay down their arms.
“The terrorists’ ranks could swell and our innocent fellow citizens, particularly those in local government areas, could become more vulnerable to attacks and abductions.”
Noting that the exercise to de-radicalise terrorists is being handled by security forces, Zulum said the initiative does not give terrorists the freedom to kill and immediately seek pardon.
He said none of the ‘repentant’ terrorists had been reintegrated into society yet, adding that terrorists willing to surrender must immediately “stop further attacks on civilians, security agents and facilities”.
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