Tuesday, November 30, 2021

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FG seeks more stringent penalties for oil spill, gas flaring – Minister

The Acting Minister of Environment, Ms Sharon Ikeazor has expressed dismay over the environmental degradation going on in the Niger Delta region.

This is as she noted that the ministry is favourably disposed to a new law which will impose stiffer punishment on companies whose activities pollute the environment.

Ikeazor, the Minister of State for Environment, stated this on Thursday at the Special Weekly Briefing coordinated by the Presidential Communication Team held at Presidential Villa, Abuja.

She said: “There is no gainsaying the fact that there are environmental challenges in Nigeria especially the erosion menace in Anambra state in the South East and the pollution of the environment in the entire Niger Delta region. Nigeria is also very vulnerable to climate change hence the Federal Government under the leadership of President Buhari has been in the forefront to tackle all these headlong.”

Specifically, Ikeazor said President Buhari’s recent pronouncement in Glasgow, Scotland during the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has set the agenda on the country’s efforts to tackle climate change and environmental degradation.

Explaining further she said government has done much in the Ogoni Clean-up Project, adding that several identified clean-up sites in Ogoni have been done but regretted that some bag guys have continued to pollute the same environment that have already been cleaned up.

Also speaking on the recent oil spill at a dormant Well- Head owned by indigenous oil company, AITEO located in Sambabiri Community in Nembe, Bayelsa state, the Minister disclosed that her ministry has been on top of the matter and she is happy that the spill has been contained.

“On the Santa Babara Aiteo oil spills, you remember the Ministry of Environment issued a statement stating what happened and the action being taken. It’s a collective action between the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Ministry of Environment and the oil company involved (Aiteo)”.

“It goes beyond the oil companies giving out palliatives, they must put measures in place to prevent such accidents from happening. They are also claiming that the spill was do due sabotage by the local communities”.

“We are going to have a targeted approach to illegal bunkering, tampering with oil installation and artisanal mining in the Niger Delta to get alternative livelihood for the young people of the Niger Delta, so that they would desist from this because it is further polluting the environment,” she said.

She added that “Government is working on alternative livelihood for the communities so that we can move them away from illegal activities and further polluting of the environment.”

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