Use Petroleum Industry Act to address Bayelsa spill, HOSTCOMS charges FG

•Urges FG to pay attention to pipelines

National President of the Host communities of Oil Producing area of Nigeria, (HOSTCOMS), Chief, Benjamin Style Tamanarebi, has charged the federal government to use the instrument of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to attend to the devastation that followed the oils spill of November 5, in Nembe area of Bayelsa State.

Tamanarebi said this to Tribune Online, in an exclusive interview where he said the 200 bags of rice donated by the oil company, does not amount to anything, for the level of losses uncured by the various impacted communities.

He said farmers and fishermen have lost major sources of their livelihoods and such paltry measure will not sustain them.

According to him, the development was a trial of the new Act on the petroleum industry which captured the measures that should be taken to assuage the losses suffered by the affected and impacted communities.

He said there should be a penalty for the operating company for its negligence that got to damage to the environment. The Petroleum Industry Act has provided that a three per cent cost of operations for oil companies, would be pooled to address oil spillage and its ancillary effects where they occurred to manage any such spill and degradation.

His words: “This one that happened in Nembe, in OML 29 who is going to pay for it? Government should
know how to check all the durability of the pipes. How do you now expect those pipes to stay because they are being erupted, they wait for the pipes to erupt and they come to repair.

“How do you expect the work done. Who is going to pay for the compensation, is it from the same three percent? Who is going to pay the compensation for the damages so far dome to the communities?

“You can see from this accident, it did not affect the community alone, it affected many communities because we are interconnected to a river so all the communities within the shorelines are affected.

“Spill in the hinterland is quite different, Edo, upland like Abia which is unlike the spread of Riverside communities like Delta Rivers. If a spill occurs in one community, the next minute community Z is affected as well as long as the pipe burst.

“Are we not seeing the peanut of the compensation that has been coming on what can 200 bags of rice do to over 40 communities that were affected?

“Just as I said, who will speak for them. PIA is faulty and quite faulty. There should be a provision made available for is kind of situation

“What happened in Rivers State on the gas leakage. Government should provide a system that overlooks, checks how to make the host community comfortable is owe own advice.

“The effect of that damage is more than the 200 bags of rice that is given to the people, can that be able to compensate for what has happened, the damage that has been done, these are the issues we are talking about.

“These people are farmers, they of them are fishermen, the Mangrove is gone because it is impacted upon, the river is gone, they cannot do anything, the fish in the River is dying.

Tamanarebi said another proper measure to control the spate of the unwanted experience of spillage, was for the government to look at the life of the various pipelines buried in the ground, to convey these crudes if they are no it expired.

“How is the government going to ameliorate that too? Are they going to compensate all the households in the entire kingdom, that the river is going to be remediated? These are the issues we are talking about.

“Let them change the pipeline that is due for change before now the government should be able to change the law that all the pipelines are changed.

“Check the date that these pipelines were laid, you and I know that they were laid in the 1950s and they have been running up till now,” Tamanarebi stated.

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