August 26, 2020

Unlicensed, unregulated drillers endanger environment— AWDROP

AWDROP, drillers

•File photo of a borehole system on Aiyetoro Street, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos.

•File photo of a borehole system on Aiyetoro Street, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos.

The National President, Association of Water Well Drilling Rig Owners & Practitioners, AWDROP, Michael Ale, has urged federal and state governments to renew the fight against indiscriminate drilling by self-acclaimed drillers, who fail to get a licence from relevant government agencies.

Ale, who expressed shock at the alarming rate at which “unprofessional drillers are engaging in indiscriminate drilling,” cautioned that Nigeria risks massive environmental degradation should the charade continue without government’s regulatory intervention.

The water drilling expert and CEO of Development Nigeria, a development platform, was responding to Monday’s prompt arrest of Indian drillers which caused a stir in Ibadan metropolis, Oyo State, on alleged indiscriminate drilling.

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The firm was also allegedly found to be unlicensed before its arrest was effected by the state’s Commissioner for Environment and Water Resources, Idowu Oyeleke.

Three staff members of the Indian drilling company were reportedly apprehended for alleged indiscriminate drilling at the Sabo area of Ibadan, Oyo State capital, by the state’s Environmental Task Force which may charge them to court for alleged non-payment of permit and indiscriminate drilling by the roadside.

The drilling firm’s activities leading to heavy early morning gridlock on the axis of the road was said to have incurred public wrath and outcry, leading to an urgent SOS to the Commissioner, who promptly swung into action.

Responding further, Ale lauded the commissioner’s prompt response as a measure of proactive engagement with defaulters on the part of the government.

The drillers’ leader called for such proactive measures in regulating all local businesses in the country, saying: “Local businesses in Nigeria cannot grow or thrive without proper regulations. Banks cannot support in unregulated businesses.

“The environment is affected and the operators who are against regulation risk not growing.

“Regulation is to protect the poor and the customer for standard operative procedure and sustainability of their borehole and provide value for money.

“Nigerians should realise that what is not regulated cannot be termed standard; hence they cannot complain about shoddy jobs.

“Sub-national governments should please pass their respective laws to regulate water well drilling and execute such laws to help local operators and enforce standards.

“It should not be on the collection of money alone, but technical regulation.

“Banks cannot support unregulated businesses. One day, a borehole drilling machine will block the government house or the entrance of Aso Rock, preventing government officials from performing constituted assignments, thereby causing security threat to the sovereignty of the nation,” the AWDROP added.