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Governor Wike Decries Negative Impact Of Oil Exploration



The Rivers State Government says issues of oil exploration and the degradation of land and water of the Niger Delta Region, especially Ogoni land, has impacted negatively on the lives of its people.

Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike stated this during the Commissioning of the office building and laboratory of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency in Port Harcourt, Friday

Governor Wike, represented by his Deputy, Dr. (Mrs.) Ipalibo Harry Banigo, said in the last quarter of 2016, Port Harcourt atmosphere suffered from the appearance of black soot which was very injurious to the health of the People as they could no longer engage in their natural vocation to carter for their families.

He said the state government had to set up a high powered technical committee which expressed the need for the Federal Government to implement the stop gas flaring policy that has been in the archives since 1979, and also to ensure that the gas flare sites are handed over to investors by 2020 as captured in the gas flare commercialisation programme of Nigeria.

Governor Wike said one of the things that came out of the report was the fact that illegally refined petroleum products were being set ablaze by the security forces in a manner that was further endangering the community, the land and the water.

The state chief executive called for the establishment of a tank farm, where seized illegal products can be stored and used for the benefit of the Federal Government and the people.

According to him the legality of artisanal refinery has promoted unregulated use of technology, stressing that the Federal Government should accelerate plans for the establishment of modular refineries in the crude oil bearing regions of Nigeria.

The state chief executive also advocated that the International Oil Companies should be compelled by the Federal Government through the Ministry of Environment to have remote sensing and command control centres which can detect oil spills, leakages and oil facilities tampering across their operational area to enable them spot vulnerable points on the pipe lines.

Governor Wike who expressed the State Government’s willingness to partner with NOSDRA to achieve results expressed the hope that commissioning of the laboratory will positively impact on the lives of the people in the oil producing region.

In her keynote address the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, said the Federal Government is committed to oil spill management in Nigeria, noting that the implementation of the United Nations Environment Report on Ogoniland led to the setting up of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP).

According her, remediation works are underway and it is intended that all remediated sites will be restored to all practical extent and directed that the facilities available in the National Oil Spill Response Laboratory to be patronized by HYPREP and its contractors as well as the oil companies operating across the nation to maximize the potential of the facility.

She congratulated NOSDRA for the completion of its office in Port Harcourt which, according to her, is the hub of oil exploration and production in Nigeria and urged the Agency to ensure that standards are kept and maintained in line with international best practices.

In his remark the Director General of NOSDRA, Idris Musa said the building is designed to serve as an administrative block, and warehouse for oil spill response equipment and reference laboratory for the agency.

He noted that the siting of the National Oil Spill Reference Laboratory in Port Harcourt by the agency was deliberate in view of its central location in the Niger Delta Region, where oil prospect and production activities are predominant in Nigeria at the moment.

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