A lecturer in the University of Port Harcourt, Prof Martin Ifeanacho says over 300 oil spillages occur in the Niger Delta annually.
He lamented that the figure would not be equaled by any country in the world.
Ifeanacho who stated this in Aba, Abia State at the occasion of a public enlightenment workshop for Nigerian Gas Company (NGC) pipeline host communities, added that it was unfortunate things were allowed to degenerate to such a bad level.
The don, a guest speaker at the workshop opined that ways should be developed to prevent oil spills, 80 percent of which he said were caused by sabotage while the remaining was as a result of age of oil pipelines most of which were over 45 years.
While urging communities to employ what he described as “power of argument instead of argument of power” during negotiations with oil companies, condemned the emphasis being placed on compensation when oil spillages occurred instead of preventing them as no amount of compensation would bring back the environment the way it was before the spillage.
Earlier in his address, the Managing Director of NGC, a subsidiary of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Saidu Mohammed who emphasized the need for peace among the communities hosting the company’s pipelines said his organization would always encourage and appreciate communities that promoted peace and dialogue in the resolution of any issue.
Mohammed who was represented by Ganiyu Owolabi stated that maintenance of peace in their areas of operation was the hallmark of their community relations engagement process.
He disclosed that the company has a network of gas pipelines that extended to over 1,700 kilometres with metering stations in 10 states of the federation and some countries in the West African sub-region.
Mohammed noted that despite the large area of coverage coupled with limited resources, the company was faced with the challenge of providing social amenities to 250 communities which host her pipelines.
He said the company undertook these responsibilities as part of her social responsibility thrust to develop their host communities.
The NGC boss further solicited for cooperation and assistance in the maintenance of peace in the various communities in order to allow for the growth of the business of the company which would in turn benefit the people of the communities and Nigerians at large.