Nigeria recorded an average of five oil spills per day between 2018 and 2019.
This is according to a statement issued by Oilwatch Africa in its reaction to the recent 1,000-tonne oil spill that occurred in the coastal environment of Mauritius.
Oilwatch Africa has “warned that African leaders must not allow continent to drown in crude oil.”
Oilwatch in its statement noted “the right step taken by the president of Mauritius in declaring a state of environmental emergency over the oil spills. The responses so far, and experiences from oil spill handling in places like Nigeria and South Sudan shows a massive lack of readiness for the destructive spills that are routine in those countries and elsewhere. Nigeria, for example, has recorded an average of five oil spills a day over the period 2018-2019.”
Thuli Makama, member of Oilwatch Africa Steering Committee declared, “African governments should pay more attention to the environment and not place undue focus on vanishing petrodollars. The dream of building our economies on petroleum resources is a pipedream,” she stressed.
Oilwatch Africa, therefore, called on “African leaders to prepare for responses to disasters of the type unfolding in Mauritius.
“It is time to put in place strict laws and regulations to ensure that big polluters – fossil fuels companies as well as owners of oil tankers and similar—pay for their pollution and are held liable for related damages.
“The companies should equally be required to clean up their mess and not pass the costs to coastal communities and then environment.
Nnimmo Bassey, a Steering Committee member of Oilwatch Africa/International, the ecological disaster brought about by the running aground of a Japanese-owned ship, MV Wakashio, is a big warning to the continent. “Africa is wholly surrounded by water and is literally encircled by ships with diverse cargoes. Urgent steps must be taken by the African Union and in particular African countries to ensure that vessels circling the continent are seaworthy and do not have toxic wares as their merchandise.
“African Governments must take their responsibilities to protect the right to a healthy environment of all Africans by moving away from fossil extraction and combustion considering that this is one of the main causes of climate change. They must put the people’s rights in the centre of their decisions towards democratic energy access,” said Kwami Kpondzo, Coordinator of Oilwatch Togo.”
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