Nigeria: Effective legislation needed to ensure oil and gas deposits don’t negatively impact communities; experts
Author: Collins Olayinka, The Guardian (Nigeria) , Published on: 30 July 2020
‘New oil finds pose fresh environmental challenges to communities’ 30 July 2020
If the current legislative and institutional frameworks are not reviewed, states and communities outside the Niger Delta where oil and gas deposits have been found in commercial quantities in recent times, will experience the same environmental degradation the region is currently facing, experts have said. This was one of the major areas of consensus reached at a two-day webinar organised by the National Coalition on Gas flaring and Oil spills in the Niger Delta (NACGOND), to examine urgent issues around the escalating incidence of oil spills regarding their impact on the environment and Nigeria’s long-term socio-economic health.
…Participants focused on the urgent need for presidential assent to the Bill that will give additional powers and jurisdiction to NOSDRA, as Nigeria’s major environmental regulator to deal effectively with current and future oil spill incidents, including those outside the Niger Delta. The serious environmental plight of the Niger Delta is underscored by the fact that there are over 2000 oil spills in different parts of the region, which have not yet been cleaned.
The current NOSDRA Act gives the agency responsibility for the “surveillance and enforcing compliance with “all existing environmental legislation and the detection of oil spills in the petroleum sector.” But the agency is hamstrung because it has no powers to deal with some categories of spills, and it has to depend on the equipment and logistics of the oil companies it regulates to access and remediate certain sites and spills.