NOSDRA harps on integration of oil communities to curb pipeline vandalism

Posted by News Express | 12 December 2015 | 4,198 times

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The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has reiterated the need for oil communities to be part of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programme on dangers of pipeline vandalism.

A statement issued by Henshaw Ogbuike, NOSDRA’s Head of Public Affairs, on behalf of Sir Peter Idabor, Director-General/Chief Executive, NOSDRA, said that the DRR has entered the third phase.

The statement quoted Idabor as saying that the community-based DRR in Port Harcourt is to press home the fact that oil pipeline vandalism is a threat; hence the workshop became necessary in the Niger Delta.

He noted that crude oil spilled into the environment due to the failure of equipment used by the oil companies, noting that the prevention involved the companies, government and oil producing communities.

Idabor noted that previous efforts at combating the menace which excluded the oil bearing communities had recorded limited success.

He said: “The DRR plan was developed by the agency to incorporate and sustain an interface with stakeholders that hitherto have not been effectively engaged in the effort to curb pipeline vandalism.

“While it is true that crude oil is spilled into the environment due to equipment failure, pipeline vandalism by unscrupulous elements also contributes largely to the menace resulting in adverse socio-economic, health and environmental conditions.

“The significance of this occasion cannot be over emphasised, the DRR plan will be a community- driven, community-implemented, community-monitored.

“DRR plan is a community-evaluated project in which the host and transit communities in collaboration with relevant stakeholders hold themselves responsible for the advocacy and protection of the immediate environment”

Also contributing, the Head, Remediation, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Prof. Akuro Adoki, said that pipeline vandalism was a very serious matter with its consequences in the country’s development.

He lamented that it was worst at the time when low oil price was already impacting negatively on the nation’s foreign exchange earnings and commended NOSDRA for sustained interest in oil spill management.

According to the statement, Gov. Nyesom Nwike of Rivers State charged oil-producing communities to police their areas against pipeline vandalism and its consequences.

Wike reportedly made the call on Wednesday at the opening of a two-day workshop on disaster risk reduction plan on pipeline vandalism in Port Harcourt.

Represented by Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Special Duties, Dr George Nweke, Wike,said the responsibility of policing the oil pipelines in their communities from vandalism rested on them.

He said: “Majority of the 1,900 reported cases of oil spills in Rivers were caused by vandalism while a small percentage was due to equipment failure.

“Oil companies have no equipment to immediately detect oil spill and urged the communities to assist the companies with information on the spills.

“Rivers government is ready to partner with oil companies and National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) to tackle the menace.

“Most of the time, the vandalism is carried out by members of the communities because said nobody came from a far community to commit the crime.”

Wike said the communities would suffer the consequences of spill when it occurred and advised that those involved should desist from it.

He advised oil companies to maintain their equipment to avoid spills and not to focus on only profit maximisation as prevention was better than cure.

Oil communities in ONELGA council area of Rivers, including Ebocha, Omoku, Obirikom and Communities in Etche LGA including Umuechem, Odogwa, Kom Kom, amongst others in Andoni LGA, participated in the programme.

Speaking on behalf of the host communities, HRH Chief GN Okoro, Paramount Ruler of Ubomiri Community in Omoku LGA, applauded NOSDRA and pledged the support of the host communities.

Other stakeholder who participated in the programme include Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, National Emergency Management Agency, National Coalition Against Gas Flare in Niger Delta, Centre for Risk Management and Development Studies, University of Port Harcourt, UNDP which supported the programme amongst others.

•Photo shows NOSDRA Director-General Peter Idabor.

Source: News Express

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