The Federal Government has said the recent oil spill in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, which occurred two weeks ago, is now “under control”.
This was disclosed by Sharon Ikeazor, Minister of State for Environment, at the weekly ministerial press briefing organised by the presidential media team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.
A wellhead in the Santa Barbara South field, which is jointly owned by Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company (AEEPCO) and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), had blown on 5 November and since then, it had been spewing oil into the surrounding river.
Speaking on the development, Ikeazor said the Santa Barbara spillage has now been tackled following the deployment of the necessary personnel and equipment.
The minister, however, stated that Aiteo, the operating company of the OML29 in Nembe, Bayelsa State, blamed the recent oil spillage in the country on alleged sabotage by the locals.
She also said the ministry of environment is working to amend the law establishing the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) to effectively tackle oil spillage, particularly in the Niger Delta region.
She said: “We need to put a strong legal framework to stop the oil spills that is going on. The devastation in the Niger Delta is massive — this is something we need to tackle headlong.
“We need to review the NOSDRA Act— National Oil Spill Detection And Response Agency. We need to put stiffer penalties in place to be able to have the teeth to bite. The government is working to create alternative livelihood for the communities to be able to move them away from illegal activities.”