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Reps recommend sanctions for Shell, Agip after contravening environmental laws

By Barakat Odegbola

Following an oil spillage recorded in Bayelsa State, the House of Representatives has asked the Federal Government to impose heavy sanctions on Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) and Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) for grossly violating the country’s environmental laws.

The house said that the sanction on the oil companies was for allowing their products and other activities to destroy farmlands and other sources of livelihood in several communities in the state.

The recommendation for the sanctions was made on the floor of the house after the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, put the reports of the sub-committee on the pollution recorded in the state to a voice vote yesterday.

After the approval, the house agreed that the apex government through the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) to sanction both oil firms for gross violation of Environmental Laws;

“Also asked that the Department of Petroleum Resources, (DPR), Shell Petroleum Development Company, and Nigeria Agip Oil to comply strictly with NOSDRA Act”, the lawmakers added.

Earlier, Henry Nwawuba and 14 other lawmakers of the green chamber had during the plenary session, argued that environmental pollution in the Niger Delta was caused by poor production practices and inadequate maintenance of oil infrastructure.

He noted that there were two separate oil spills from Okordia Rumuekpe pipeline and the flow station at John Krana 4 known as Adibawa flow station owing to long usage of oil pipeline since 1969, operated by Shell (SPDC), and the Ogada-Brass pipeline operated by AGIP (NAOC) both of which occurred in 2020.

Nwawuba explained that the two oil firms have allegedly refused to do a proper clean-up in those communities, and also refused to pay compensation to the affected families.

“Concerned that both Shell Petroleum Company (SPDC) and Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) have failed to clean up affected areas and compensate the affected families, neither have they repaired damages caused by fire outbreaks arising from the spills dispersed by flood which destroyed other sources of livelihood in the region,” the lawmaker stated.

Nwawuba further alleged that the maintenance culture of these companies have brought untold hardship on residents  of these communities, saying, they rely on farm produce and fishing for survival;

He noted that the communities are overstressed by the conflicting involvements of the International oil companies and their operating agents in Ogoni land over the years in the extraction of Oil and Gas.

According to the Lawmaker, this has resulted in overlapping damage to the environment, coupled with a growing level of agitation, unemployment, and poor infrastructural development in the communities.

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