By Samuel Oyadongha & Emem Idio
YENAGOA—DISTURBED by the continued degradation of the Niger Delta environment by activities of oil and gas explorations, the Ijaw Professionals Association, IPA, has accused federal agencies saddled with responsibility of regulating the activities of multinationals of “indifference and ineptitude.”
The group noted that the institutional weaknesses of National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, and Department for Petroleum Resources, DPR, both regulatory agencies, have rendered them ineffective and culpable.
President of IPA (Homeland Chapter) Iniruo Wills, in a statement to commemorate this year’s World Environment Day, called on the Federal Government to empower and fund relevant agencies to take quick and sustained measures to correct the behaviour of the oil and gas producing and allied corporations.
Wills, while also calling for an end to gas flaring in the Niger Delta, urged the Federal Government to declare December 31, 2018 as the final deadline for gas flaring in the region.
He called on the acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo to direct the Ministers of Environment, Petroleum Resources, Health and Niger Delta Affairs to immediately initiate the conduct of an independent holistic study of the cumulative environmental, health and socio-economic impact of oil and gas exploration on host and transit communities.
He said, “The acting President by executive order and/or any other appropriate instrument, should declare December 31, 2017, and in otherwise genuinely compelling cases a date not exceeding December 31, 2018, as the final irreversible deadline for gas flaring to stop in Nigeria, particularly in the Niger Delta.
“The acting President, as a matter of national emergency, should take all necessary steps to ensure for the first time proper and adequate funding for NOSDRA and compel the agency to start discharging its statutory mandate effectively.
“That governors of the affected states of the Niger Delta, especially the all-Ijaw Bayelsa State should stop paying lip service to protection of the environment, as has obviously always been the case, and start today to prioritize the unmistakable protection of our coastal environment as their primary constitutional duty and sacred obligation to the Ijaws and the Niger Delta people.
“It will be inhuman to expect our people to continue to accept this threat to their lives and collective future. Nigeria should S.T.O.P (stop the oil pollution) seeing the oil as its own and the pollution as our own.”