NOSDRA, Rivers Govt Unveil New Plan Against Pipeline Vandalism, Oil Spills.

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…….decry indifference of pipeline owners

By Amaechi Okonkwo

Nigeria’s National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and the government of Rivers state have adopted community based approach to tackle the perennial menace of pipeline vandalism and its attendant oil spills in the Niger Delta region of the country.

The new strategy comes on the heels of a revelation by the state ministry of environment that pipeline vandalism is on the increase in the region because pipeline owners and operators had refused to show sincere commitment in their community engagements. The inaction by pipeline, the ministry said, has led to distrust and self-help syndrome in our communities.

The new plan by NOSDRA and the Rivers state government involves harmonising the roles and responsibilities of government, oil industry operators, host and transit communities and other relevant stakeholders in addressing the problem. In their presentations in Port Harcourt, Tuesday during the Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction (CBDRR) plan, Phase 3, organised by the NOSDRA both parties decried environmental and health impacts of pipeline vandalism.

The programme was organised to sensitise stakeholders on the dangers of pipeline vandalism and roll out strategies to tackle the menace in communities. Director-general, NOSDRA, Idris Musa, identified oil spills induced by pipeline vandalism as one of the myriads of environmental problems threatening the Niger Delta ecosystem and the people’s livelihood.

The DG who was represented by the agency’s director, Oladipo Obanuwa, said there was a need to organise town hall meetings to create awareness on the dangers of pipeline vandalism in the region. He explained that the disaster risk reduction plan was developed to harmonise the roles and responsibilities of government, oil industry operators, host and transit communities and other relevant stakeholders in addressing the problem.

According to him, the agency is interfacing with stakeholders that have not been effectively engaged in the efforts to curb pipeline vandalism.

“While it is true that crude oil is spilled into the environment due to equipment failure, pipeline vandalism by unscrupulous elements also contributes largely to the menace resulting in adverse socio-economic health and environmental challenges.

“The DRR Plan will be community-driven, community-implemented, community-monitored and community-evaluated project in which the host and transit communities in collaboration with relevant stakeholders hold themselves responsible for the advocacy and protection of immediate environment”, Musa said.

In his remarks, the director, inspectorate and enforcement, Rivers state ministry of environment, Emmanuel Fienemika, said vandalism was on the increase because pipeline owners and operators had refused to show sincere commitment in their community engagements.

“Over the years, pipeline owners and operators have failed to show sincere commitment in their engagements with host communities. Their action has led to distrust and self-help syndrome in our communities,” he said

Commenting on efforts of the government, the director stated: “The Rivers state government through the ministry of environment has taken various radical steps to curtail and reverse pipeline vandalism. We enacted the Rivers State Environmental Protection and Management Law of 2019 as amended.

“It has various provisions to tackle the menace. We have inaugurated committees on pipeline protection and preservation of oil and gas pipeline right of way and the committees have been working well. We have carried out sensitization campaigns across the communities”.

Fienemika while appreciating NOSDRA’s community-based plan to tackle the problem, said the programme must be driven with honest, dogged and consistent approach.


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