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Senate asks FG to penalise Aiteo for Nembe oil spill

Senate asks FG to penalise Aiteo for Nembe oil spill
December 07
22:37 2021

The senate says an oil spill from the Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited facility in Nembe, Bayelsa, is unacceptable, urging relevant agencies to penalise the company.

Ahmad Lawan, president of the senate, said this on Tuesday after the upper chamber passed a resolution on the spill incident.

The oil mining lease (OML) 29 wellhead in Santa Barbara South field had blown on November 5, spewing oil into the water bodies.

It is jointly owned by AEEPCO and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

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Last week, Andrew Onu, Aiteo’s global group director/coordinator, said the wellhead is being pumped with chemicals to contain further leakage in “one or two days”. He had said that the spill had already been contained substantially.

Ezrel Tabiowo, special assistant (Press) to the senate president, in a statement, said Lawan disclosed this while speaking on a motion sponsored by Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo (Bayelsa East).

The motion was on the “extremely urgent need to stop the continuous crude oil and gas blowout spill at Santa Barbara well 1, OML 29 operated by AITEO Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited in Opu Nembe, Bayelsa State.”

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According to the statement, Lawan added that the national assembly will continue to insist that oil companies carry out their corporate social responsibilities to host communities in accordance with the law.

“I feel very sad that an indigenous oil company for that matter, would be involved in this kind of incident and yet not be able to show any capacity,” he said. 

“As a country, we want to promote our local content to participate in this industry.

“But we are going to insist, whether it is an indigenous-owned company or an international one, that the companies must be responsible to the communities and to us as a nation.

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“This is a devastation of lives and ecosystem in that part of the country.”

The senate president called on the federal government and its agencies to sanction oil companies responsible for the devastation of host communities where they conduct their operations.

“I believe that this particular case should be made to be an example of what government and its agencies can do, not only to force the alleged culprit to remedy the environment but also to penalise the oil company for devastating the lives of the people of that area (Nembe),” Lawan added.

The red chamber urged Aiteo to urgently deploy relevant technological mechanisms to stop the spill and prevent the continuous degradation of the environment.

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The chamber called on the relevant agencies to conduct an environmental impact assessment to determine the extent of the pollution. 

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