Govt sets up committee on oil spill sensitisationNigeria
Efforts to curb oil spills in the Niger Delta area have been boosted, following the inauguration a committee by the Federal government to fast track its record of reducing oil spill.
The committee is to set in motion the machinery for informing, educating and enlightening the people of the oil producing areas and Nigeria at large on how to check the causative factors behind oil spillage, such as pipeline vandalisation and illegal bunkering.
They are to ensure the collaboration of the stakeholders in strategizing on modalities that will increase the level of environmental awareness among the oil-bearing communities, in addition to promoting dialogues and creating enabling environment for harmonious relationships among the stakeholders.
The Acting Director General of National Oil Spill Detection Response Agency, Mrs Okwechime who inaugurated the Committee on Environmental Sensitization and Awareness in Oil Producing Areas of Nigeria the committee in Abuja expressed that the rampant cases of oil spillage and the precipitate environmental devastation in different parts of the Niger-Delta region in recent times was a sad development that has put companies and host communities on collusion course over who was responsible.
She noted that while equipment failure, bursting of corroded pipelines, official negligence and transportation accident are mainly responsible for oil spill incidents recorded on the part of oil industry operators, oil producing communities have their fair share of blame through some of their people’s involvement in nefarious activities like pipeline vandalisation, illegal bunkering and other related acts of sabotage.
She said: “We are certain that this committee will provide the forum for NOSDRA, the IOCs and the media to strategize on effective and efficient means of creating public awareness in oil producing areas on how to reduce the recurrent incidents of pipeline vandalization, illegal bunkering to the barest minimum.”
Okwechime further explained that the IOCs are implored to block all the loopholes on their part that is responsible for oil pollution in their host communities, also to collaborate with NOSDRA in addressing the nagging problem of sabotage of oil facilities by unscrupulous members of the communities.
Her words: “The work of this committee, which is expected to be diverse and far-reaching in its impact, will require mounting robust and aggressive awareness and enlightened campaigns in the oil producing areas against pipeline vandalisation and illegal bunkering.
“This will involve the use of various kinds of proactive public campaign mix, including education of people of the areas and their opinion leaders, through seminars, dramas, documentaries and meeting with civil society organizations (CSOs), on the dangers of the causative factors of oil spillage related to them and media advocacy by way of jingles and in-depth coverage of oil spill related incidents by both electronic and print media.”
The media professionals serving on the committee were urged to work closely in synergy with NOSDRA and the IOCs to realize the goal and objectives of the awareness campaign.
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