By Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA—MEMBERS of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions have ordered the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, to pay Ikara community in Edo State about N100 million as compensation for perennial oil spill in the communituy, since 2014.
It will be recalled that following petitions before the House of Representatives and the need to avoid violent response from Ikara indigenes, the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, issued a 14-day ultimatum to NPDC to commence the clean-up of the community or face sanctions.
The non-compliance by NPDC further angered the committee members and the fact that the NPDC had been accused of deliberately refusing to address cases arising from series of oil spillage that occurred since 2014.
Giving his ruling, late Tuesday evening, Chairman of the committee, Mr. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta (PDP, Ukwa East/West Federal Constituency), said: “Ikara community should be compensated with nothing less than N100 million and a proper clean up of the community should be carried out immediately.”
Earlier, during the investigative hearing, representatives of Impact Assessment Department of NOSDRA, Mr Oluwole Adeleke and that of NPDC, Mr Godabe Godabe, could not state concretely as to how the compensation should be structured.
The chairman had simply asked both men that, based on their experience in impact assessment of oil spills, what would they suggest as compensation for over 1450 indigenes as this involves spills of over 100 barrels of crude oil.
Responding, Adeleke said: “We need to carry out an impact damage assessment first to know how to quantify and determine what to pay.”
Reminded that he said that the spill was due to equipment failure, he said “I’m a director and we’ve done several assessments in the past and I can’t just come out with an estimate to justify what is on ground.”
At that point, he allowed the leader of Ikara community, Mr Lawrence Wilbert, to give the community’s professional assessment of the level of destruction.
Wilbert told the lawmakers that “the professional assessment carried out on the level of damage to the community was N11.736 billion and this can be verified anywhere by professionals.”