National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has confirmed a fresh oil spillage in Bodo community, Rivers state.
The Director-General of the agency, Idris Musa, said in a text to Channels Television that the leak took place on the Trans-Niger Pipeline, operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company joint venture in the riverine area.
An eyewitness had told TheCable that the underground pipeline had been discharging crude oil into the environment and spreading to farmlands since Tuesday night.
The community had in 2008 experienced two large-scale oil spills from SPDC’s facilities with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) making efforts to tackle the problem of spillage in the oil-rich state.
Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court Abuja, has granted an order, mandating the Central Bank of Nigeria to release the sum of N81.9 billion standing to the credit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, and its joint venture partner, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, in its custody to oil producing communities in Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
Justice Taiwo gave the order on Monday in a judgment in a suit instituted by aggrieved oil communities ravaged by oil spillage.
The Ibeno communities led by Obong Effiong Archianga and nine others, had brought an action against NNPC, Mobil and Exxon Mobil corporation seeking about N100 billion compensation for economic losses suffered from oil spillages caused by the defendants during exploration.
The oil communities had gone to court to seek redress over oil spillage in the area, which they claimed had caused environmental degradation in their communities.
Consequently, in a judgment on June 21, 2021, Justice Taiwo made an order, awarding the cost of N81.9 billion to the plaintiffs, who are now judgement creditors.
The court had ordered that the money must be paid within 14 days after which eight percent interest will be accruable on the principal sum annually.
On December 15, 2021, in a garnishee nisi proceeding, the apex bank had insisted that it had to get the consent of the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, before enforcing the garnishee judgment.
However, in a judgement on Monday, Justice Taiwo dismissed the claim of the CBN and ordered it to release funds belonging to the NNPC and Mobil to the tune of N82 billion to the judgement creditor.
The court said it was wrong for the apex bank to say it had to get consent from the AGF before attaching the judgment debt, insisting the apex bank is not a public officer.
Justice Taiwo noted that coming into force of the Petroleum Industry Act, had altered the name of the judgement debtor.
Lawyers of Nembe extraction in Bayelsa State are threatening legal action against the Federal Government, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and Aiteo Exploration and Production Company Limited over the ongoing spill of crude offshore the community.
The Lawyers, under the auspices of Nemb-Se Lawyers Forum, in a statement said it “considers the apparent indifference, negligence and lack of effective capacity to stop the spill and contain its spread as flagrant and continuing violation of the economic, environmental and survival right of the people.”
In the statement signed by their Chairman, Dr. Ayebaesin Beredugo and Secretary, Ayebaekipreye Frank, the forum is demanding the Federal Government and the joint operating firm, NNPC and Aiteo to mobilise necessary and adequate manpower, skill and technology to immediately kill the wellhead and stop the ongoing spill.
They also want the Federal Government’s regulatory agencies to immediately activate a joint investigation to ascertain the cause of the spill and the level of impact, saying the disposition of President Muhammadu Buhari who doubles as the Minister of Petroleum Resources is disturbing.
“We are further disturbed that apart from the initial comfort statement, President Muhammadu Buhari, who doubles as the Minister of Petroleum, has done nothing further to compel the Joint Venture Partners, that is, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and Aiteo to stop the spill and mitigate the massive damage being done to the environment,” the statement partly read.
While noting the prompt effort by Aiteo to contain the spill and provide relief materials to the locals, the Nembe-Se Lawyer Forum said the joint venture partners should also take immediate steps to assess, negotiate and pay adequate compensation to every person and community that have suffered damages from this spill and previous spills and clean up the environment.
It is asked the Federal Government to apply penal laws against “any person or party, including regulators, who by commission and omission played a role in causing the spill”, while they continue to monitor the situation with an intention to take legal actions when necessary to protect the right of the victims.
Aiteo Exploration and Production Company Limited, which operates the OML 29 Wellhead at Santa Barbara South field in Nembe in Bayelsa State, jointly with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), has assured of its commitment to ending the spill.
Explaining why it is taking long to stop the spill, the firm’s Global Group Director/Coordinator, Andrew Oru, said the spill is of a special type which involves 80 per cent gas and 20 per cent crude.
The Federal Government has declared that it will begin the process of reviewing the National Oil Spillage Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) in order to mete out stiffer penalties to oil companies involved in oil spillage in the country.
The Minister of Environment, Sharon Ikeazor who made the declaration on Thursday at the weekly ministerial briefing at the State House, noted that a strong legal framework has become expedient to stop ongoing oil spills.
The Environment minister further revealed that the OML29 oil spill in Nembe, Bayelsa State has been brought under control while blaming the oil spillage on sabotage by the locals.
According to her, necessary personnel and equipment have been deployed to begin recovery and remediation efforts handled by NOSDRA, as the agency assures that a post-spill impact assessment will be concluded in one month.
Again, Ikeazor indicated that the government is working to create alternative livelihoods for local communities to put a halt to illegal activities, that lead to sabotage of oil.
Nigeria has the highest rate of smoke-induced death in the world, most of which are women according the environment ministry.
The government is hoping to reintroduce clean cookstove and the Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) cookstove initiative described as fundamental, to enabling a reversal of the deaths and protecting the nation’s biodiversity.
Governor of Imo State Hope Uzodinma has said that the signing of the Petroleum Industry Bill 2021 into law will help to regulate environmental hazards such as oil spillage.
“All the hazards that follow the production of oil, mostly environmental hazards, are as a result of the absence of regulatory environments,” he said on Channels TV’s Politics Today on Tuesday.
“These laws when put in place, will not only regulate the environment but will also create room for value addition both in the oil-bearing communities, the oil-producing companies and government royalties. So, it is going to be a value chain. The benefits are going to be so enormous”.
The Governor commended President Buhari for signing the bill into law, noting that it had been a struggle over the years.
“I must say that the enactment and signing to law of the Petroleum Industry Bill by Mr President is a very welcome development for which we must congratulate him.
“Recall that the past assemblies even before I joined the senate during the 7th National Assembly, made efforts to amend the Petroleum Act which was enacted in 1969 which also became analog but it has not been possible. That the President has been able to break this jinx is a welcome development for which we must congratulate him”.
The oil-producing states in Nigeria are Delta, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Rivers, Edo, Ondo, Abia, Imo and Lagos.
The Ikebiri community in Bayelsa state has dragged Eni, parent company of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) to an Italian court over oil spill liabilities and pollution.
The community, a coastal settlement in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, is seeking cleanup and compensation for damages from an oil spill that affected their community in 2010.
In a statement issued in Yenagoa, Head of Legal Resources at the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Mr Chima Williams, noted that it is supporting the community in the legal action alongside Friends of the Earth, Europe.
RA/FoEN stated that Eni, which operates in Nigeria as NAOC is responsible for the spill caused by equipment failure.
It quoted its Executive Director, Dr. Godwin Ojo, as saying: “This is the first case of its kind against Italian oil giant Eni, after years of exploitation in the Niger Delta of Nigeria.
“Negligence and nonchalance from ENI and its subsidiary, NAOC has left the Ikebiri community suffering from the impacts of oil pollution for seven years.
“The leak was plugged in 2010, and NAOC claims to have cleaned up the site. However, according to the community the leaked oil in the surrounding area was simply burnt, without their consent. To date, no adequate compensation has been offered, or cleanup completed,” Ojo said.
Also, the Monarch of Ikebiri community, Francis Temi Ododo said that residents of the Niger Delta have suffered the effects of oil spillage for too long and can no longer bear it.
“Our community cannot wait any longer. We have had ENI’s pollution for too long, damaging our fishing, our farming and our lives. We are now looking to the Italian courts for justice for our people.
“The communities of the Niger Delta have had to live for decades with the effects of continuous oil spills on our health, the welfare and their livelihoods.
“Thousands of oil spills have ravaged the communities across the Niger Delta to feed the profits of ENI, and other oil and gas companies,” the community leader said.
Meanwhile, Media Relations Officer at the Exploration, Upstream and Technical Activities unit of the Eni, Marilia Cioni confirmed the litigation in an emailed response.
“I will revert to you with Eni’s position on this matter shortly,” Cioni said.
This is coming less than 24 hours after the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, met in a closed door meeting over the Malabu Opl 245 scandal.
The meeting dwelt on issues relating to Agip’s investment on Zabazaba field which is part of the Opl 245.
The out-going Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, has said that the people of Ogoni land will see tangible cleanup of their area in the next five years.
The minister said this during the ground breaking ceremony of the building of the centre of excellence, otherwise known as the Integrated Contaminated Soil Management Centre in Bori, Khana local government area of Rivers state.
The event brought together federal and state government officials, traditional rulers, commuinity leaders, as well as members of the board of trustees for the clean-up of Ogoni land.
In June 2016, the Federal Government formerly launched the clean-up of oil spills in the region, as recommended in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report.
The government had said that it is committed to restoring the ecosystem to what it used to be and as such restore the peoples’ source of livelihood.
It also stated that it is not just committed to implementing the UNEP report but is going beyond that by taking steps to improve security, good governance and economy of the Niger Delta region.
In an attempt to restore peace in the oil-rich region, the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has been meeting with government officials and traditional rulers.
Nigeria’s present economic situation may still be biting hard, but the situation urgently requires elected leaders to put aside personal differences and interests and focus on delivering good governance to those they represent.
This charge was giving by the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode to participants of the ongoing maiden edition of the executive and legislative retreat in Lagos.
Governor Ambode said that the recession taking its toll on Nigerians is a wakeup call for leaders at all levels to come together for the purpose of rescuing the nation rather than seeing it as an opportunity to amass resources for selfish purposes.
The 3-day retreat had in attendance members of the executive and the legislature at the state and federal level.
Party leaders from the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other political parties in the state were also part of it.
An explosion has occurred in an oil spillage site in Odidi community in Warri, Delta State, killing four persons.
The incident has thrown Odidi community in South-west Local Government Area of Delta State in Nigeria’s south-south into mourning.
The community leader, Lawrence Okrikpa, blamed the oil spill on the neglect of Nigeria Petroleum Development Corporation (NPDC), which he said had failed to work on the old gas pipelines long due for change.
He appealed to the Federal Government to come salvage the situation, which is hopeless at the moment as the community has been devastated.
ExxonMobil’s said on Tuesday it was helping clean up an oil spill near its facility off the Nigeria’s southeast coast, although the company wasn’t yet sure what caused the leak.
Mobil Producing Nigeria, a joint venture between ExxonMobil and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), confirmed last week oil had been sighted near Ibeno in Akwa Ibom state but the source was unknown.
Local fishing communities blame Mobil for the spill, which they say has cut off their livelihood.
“Mobil … confirms it is assisting with the clean-up in cooperation with local authorities,” company spokesman Nigel Cookey-Gam said. “The source of the hydrocarbon remains unknown as fingerprinting of collected samples is ongoing … Mobil remains committed to ensuring that the health and environment of our neighbouring communities are protected.”
Oil spills are common in Africa’s top energy producer and stretches of the Niger Delta, a fragile wetlands environment, are coated in crude. Thousands of barrels are spilled every year and lax enforcement means there are few penalties.
Oil firms say the majority of spills are due to armed oil thieves hacking into or blowing up pipelines to steal crude, an activity they estimate saps nearly a fifth of Nigeria’s output.
The National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency has commenced training for officers who will be engaged in the implementation of the national environmental regulations. At the opening of a risk assessment workshop in Abuja, the director general of NESREA, Dr. Ngeri Benebo said that the agency will fully implement the 24 regulations, which cuts across all sectors. Dr. Benebo said that training will equip the officials witht he skills to conduct investigations and collate data on environmental risks to avoid disasters.