By Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA—APPARENTLY disturbed by the oil spill in Ikara communinity in Edo State, and in a bid to avoid a blood bath in the community, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Corporation, NPDC, to commence the clean-up of the community or face sanctions.
Acting Director, Impact Assessment Department of NOSDRA, Mr Oluwole Adeleke, who represented the Director General, Mr. Peter Irabor, gave the ultimatum at an adjourned hearing of the matter which is before the Nkem Uzoma Abonta-led Committee on Public Petitions.
The petition, which was case number two on the order of proceedings, yesterday, was earlier adjourned to June 13, following the absence of representatives from NPDC, who were called to show appearances but failed.
However, shortly after the petitioners (Ikara Community representatives) and NOSDRA officials were asked to return on June 13, the NPDC officials who obviously came for a different matter announced their presence at the hearing when another case was called for deliberation.
It was at that point that the committee chairman, Rep. Uzoma Nkem Abonta (PDP, Abia) asked that the Ikara community representatives and NOSDRA officials be asked to come back since the respondent (NPDC), who has been delaying the matter had come.
On getting back, the committee chairman asked the NPDC why it had refused to make any appearance after the case had been heard for nine times .
The NPDC representative told the committee that though, it did not come to appear before the panel, it has documents that if tendered would turn the case around, making it (NPDC) the complainant.
The committee at that point asked NOSDRA what course of action it would take, should NPDC fails to obey its directive to commence the clean-up of oil spill in Ikara community, to which NOSDRA said NPDC would be sanctioned.
Before adjourning the case to June 13, the committee chairman obtained a commitment from Mr Lawrence Wilbert, who is the leader of Ikara community to keep the youths in check pending what would transpire on the next adjourned date.
It will be recalled that the NPDC had been accused of deliberately refusing to address cases arising from series of oil spillage that occurred in 2014.