Bayelsa State has kicked against the siting of the head office of National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, in Abuja, where oil spill and pollution does not take place.
The State Commissioner for Environment, Mr Iniuro Wills, expressed displeasure over the absence of any branch of NOSDRA office in the state.
He therefore called on the federal government, to as a matter of deliberate policy, to urgently move the headquarters of the regulatory agency to any of the oil producing states in the South South region.
At a recent review and validation of draft community-based disaster risk reduction plan on the dangers of oil pipeline vandalism and the environmental pollution held in Yenagoa, Wills insisted that the state records more incidence of environmental devastation.
It is speculated that the rate of oil spill in Bayelsa, is more devastating than that of Ogoni in Rivers State, which has been widely reported. The oil rich state allegedly records about 40 spill cases monthly.
Wills also called for renewed commitment and collaboration with NOSDRA, especially in the area of joint investigation activities of pollutions and remediation claims by some oil companies.
He further called for aggressive enlightenment on the dangers of pipeline vandalism for the people in the communities, as well as proposing a joint surveillance of remediation sites after pollutions to ensure that the cleanups were properly conducted by the affected oil companies. He stressed the need for operators to be proactive in separating incident of equipment failure that result in pollution, and the criminal element in the society that deliberately sabotage the economic activities of oil production.
This, he said, could be enhanced through information sharing, post impact assessment and collaborative engagement between the state government, regulatory agencies and the oil companies.
The Zonal Director, Port Harcourt Office, NOSDRA, Mr Cyrus Nkangwung, had assured of synergy between the regulatory agency and the state government, to ensure that oil operators within the state complied with all existing environmental legislation on oil spill matters.
He, however, noted that the task of managing oil spill is not what the agency alone can do, and called for mutual collaboration and the ministry’s support in working for the good of the environment.