By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa—Bayelsa State Government has called for a comprehensive forensic investigation into last Thursday’s Agip pipeline explosion, which claimed 13 lives, including a staff of the state Ministry of Environment and security personnel.
Governor Seriake Dickson, who made the call in Yenagoa, when he met with officials of Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, expressed worry over spill statistics of 656 in 2014 from the company’s facilities in the state.
The governor expressed displeasure over reports indicating that the company failed to comply with internationally accepted standards in its operations in the state.
He warned that the government would not hesitate to explore all legal means to seek redress over the sad incident and serial abuse of the environment, should the outcome of the final report by the investigating team, which will comprise experts from all relevant agencies, indict NAOC.
Dickson, who urged oil companies and other corporate organisations to operate in line with international standards, expressed dismay at the absence of NAOC’s Managing Director at the meeting.
The governor said henceforth, he will want to deal with the Chief Executive Officer of the company in any weighty mutual issues, where binding decisions are to be taken.
Consoling the families that lost their loved ones to the incident, Dickson restated his administration’s commitment to the protection of the environment against any further destruction by oil companies and perpetrators of pipeline vandalism.
He said: “In this government, we are concerned about the environment. The statistics that have been read out is alarming, to say the least. I can’t imagine in this state, how from your facilities alone, 656 spills occurred in one year. That means, almost three spills at three different sites occur everyday of the year. That is very troubling even though I know that the activities of some of our people also contribute to it.
“In view of the litany of complaints against most of the oil companies here, and in particular about Agip from all stakeholders-security, communal and government, the government of Bayelsa State is interested in a full forensic investigation. Like I said earlier, I don’t want to prejudge the final report that will come.”