An anti-corruption group based in the United Kingdom,the Stakeholder Democratic Network (SDN) has frowned at the priority given by the Federal Government to security action against crude oil theft at the detriment of the needed environmental protection action against oil spillages in the Niger Delta region.
According to the group, though the activities of crude oil thieves is reducing the economic earnings of the nation,the excessive focus and security actions against illegal bunkering and crude oil theft is a poor reflection of the policy focus and sign of wickedness against the people of the Niger Delta by the Federal Government.
The country coordinator of the group,Comrade Inemo Samiama,in a statement made available to news men in Yenagoa, he said the group’s position was fueled by the lack of action on the KS Endeavour blowout in 2012 and the excessive focus or campaigns on illegal oil theft and illegal oil refineries should distract from addressing this shortfall.
“The 2012 is typical of a year where much was put in the public domain about oil spills especially those from illegal refineries, but too little was done to address the massive gap between Nigeria’s spill record and its capacity to contain and clean up oil spills. The most fortunate event in 2012 was that the Chevron rig that exploded in the early hours of January 16th was tasked to gas rather than oil exploration. However the lack of any substantive government response or meaningful investigation (other than accepting flyovers provided by the company) was a hallmark of all that is wrong in the industry”, the group stated.
They went further, “Even one of the most dramatic pieces of investigative journalism for the year – where Thomson Reuters raised many questions about events leading up to the blowout – did nothing to stir action on globally one of the very few rigs destroyed in this manner since the Macando disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
The lack of action on the KS Endeavour blowout was typical of a year where much was put in the public domain about oil spills-especially those from illegal refineries- but too little was done to address the massive gap between Nigeria’s spill record and its capacity to contain and clean up oil spills. No amount of hype, excessive focus or campaigns on illegal oil theft and illegal oil refineries should distract from addressing this shortfall. “
The belated formation of Hyprep was one step that is still in its formative stages on action over existing oil spills but based on available data there has been no overall progress on reducing the massive volumes of oil spilt each year. There is an urgent need for clarity on exactly what actions will be taken on oil spill clean up – both by Hyprep and any other agencies. The year ended on a sour note with two reported coastal oil spills from Exxon-Mobil as a reminder of how much needs to be done to end routine spills.”