Reps query oil coys over environmental degradation in Niger Delta

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By Femi Ogunshola

The House of Representatives Joint Committee on Environment, Petroleum Resources Upstream, Petroleum Resources Downstream and Climate Change has queried oil producing companies operating in the Niger Delta over environmental degradation in the region.

Rep. Pondi Gbabojor, the Chairman of the joint Committee, said this in Abuja on Wednesday at the public hearing on Environmental Damage within the oil-producing communities.

He said that the oil-producing communities had experienced environmental degradation and socio-economic marginalisation following decades of oil exploration and exploitation.

“The abundant natural resources should have been a source of prosperity and development; rather, the host communities have suffered pollution and land degradation.

“They also suffer from loss of biodiversity, and deterioration of traditional livelihoods that are inestimable and irreparable,” he said.

He said that in spite of laws and regulations enacted to safeguard the environment and the established regulatory agencies, the environmental damages in oil-producing communities had persisted.

He said the committees would identify erring organisations and hold those responsible accountable.

“Our environment is not just the backdrop of human action but the very essence of life and our sustenance,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 40 companies were invited to the hearing, but only 35 honored the invitation, including the Ministry of Environment, Dubi Oil Company, Nigerian Agip Oil Limited

Others were Starling Oil Exploration, Mobil Producing Nigeria Ltd. Resources Exploration and Production Ltd, First Exploration and Petroleum Development Company among others.

The oil companies however requested that the committees visited all the affected states that had experienced environmental degradation, especially the Ogoni Land.(NAN)www.nannews.ng

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Edited by Ali Baba Inuwa

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