Beyond the statutory joint investigation visit to oil spill sites, the Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN, has advocated that oil industry regulators should prevail on oil firms to sign a post-impact document, after a spill site has been remedied. ERA explained that the document should disclose in detail how oil spill impacted the environment are attended to in terms of cleanup and how much of spilled crude oil was recovered at the end of the day.
Head of ERA, Bayelsa Office, Mr Alagoa Morris, expressed worries that so much crude oil has been left to spread into the Niger Delta environment, absorbed by plants and other materials or leached into the soil.
Morris said this in reaction to the incessant cases of oil spills and environmental pollution caused by the exploration and exploitation of crude oil and gas, by oil multinationals operating in the region.
He maintained that the polluter (oil firms) should pay for damages or losses incurred by individuals or communities during oil spills incidents.
“The polluter has to pay. Oil spill incidents should take care of general and individual damages or losses incurred.
“Oil firms should indicate how many barrels of crude oil was recovered from the environment, out of the number of barrels so spewed; if recovery and cleanup were carried out.
“Besides the JIV report, the regulators should provide another form in the oil industry to show how oil spill impacted the environment are attended to in terms of cleanup and how much of spilled crude oil was recovered at the end of the day.
“So much crude oil has been left to spread in our environment, absorbed by plants and other materials or leached into the soil. This should be a post impact document to sign off on the incident.”
Morris recalled that in 2017, ERA had advised state governors in the Niger Delta to establish functional laboratories, which would help in ensuring environmental justice for victims of oil industry induced pollution.
“This was why in 2017, ERA/FoEN recommended in a field report that Niger Delta States governments should establish and maintain a standard, functional laboratories which would go a long way to assist in ascertaining whether oil spill impacted sites have been properly cleaned and remediated.”