By Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA— DISTURBED by the non-appearance of Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC officials at a scheduled hearing, the House of Representatives Committee on Environment has threatened to issue a bench warrant against the company to appear before it over the spillage in Ikara community of Edo State.
Chairman of the Committee, Obinna Chidoka, made this known at a public hearing.
Chidoka said that the lingering matter in the legislative chamber was referred to his committee by the Public Petitions Committee.
It will be recalled that the House Committee on Public Petitions had given an award in favour of Ikara community which NPDC deliberately shunned, hence the Committee on Environment was mandated to evaluate the extent of environmental impact on the community.
During the investigative hearing, NPDC was not present to respond to allegations made against it by the Ikara community leaders, who say that the community remained polluted and degraded due to the oil spillage.
Chairman of Ikara Community Trust, Mr Lawrence Wilbert, said that as a result of the oil spillage, they no more fish in the river, adding that people had been forced to leave and not return to their traditional occupation of fishing and farming.
The committee therefore, resolved to adjourn the hearing and summoned the NPDC to the next hearing.
Wilbert, in an interview with journalists after the public hearing, said: “We are here on the matter regarding oil spillage, which occured in our community by an asset owned and managed by NPDC.
“We had taken it up, we appeared before the National Assembly, the House where we are taking them through the Public Petitions Committee and it has now been passed to the Environment Committee to evaluate the cost and compensation that my community is due for NPDC to be made to clean up the environment, that’s why we are here today.
“In summary, what we are trying to avoid is a situation where we have another Ogoni crisis in Edo State.”