14 January 2014, Abuja -Director General, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency NOSDRA, Sir, Peter Idabor, says the enabling laws to regulate the oil industries on matters of oil spill are not strong enough to punish oil spill offenders.
Addressing newsmen at the maiden retreat for the agency’s governing board and management in Abuja, Idabor lamented that this and other challenges were making the agency not to perform optimally.
To this end, the NOSDRA boss called on the National Assembly to look into the matter critically and ensure that there is commensurate punishment for any kind of default by these operators.
According to him, “when our laws are amended, we will have more teeth to bite, and we will be able to cub the incident of oil pollution in the country.
“We have launched what we call the National Oil spill monitor, a web base platform for reportage of oil spill all over the country and we have given opportunities to the host communities to play their own role as well as the NGOs and we are also collaborating with the oil companies,” he said.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Governing Board of NOSDRA, Major Lancelot Anyanya (rtd) emphasised the need for the redefinition of rule of engagement and the necessity for capacity building for staff to be able carry out their works effectively.
He said: “With regards to the role or the involvement, as I have said, since we came on board that we must redefine relationships in this industry; we can no longer afford to have relationships that connote adversarial engagement, because we are not adversaries.
“The greatest tool that a regulator needs for his job is knowledge, and so necessary investment needs to be made in expanding and deepening the knowledge of the staff and we are willing to support the management to do just that and to provide the relationship to and the environment that will make that happen.
“In terms of the resources the agency is relatively young, there is no doubt that there is a lot that need to be done, there is a lot of gap in terms of capacity.
“We do not believe that the oil companies are not interested in the environment, we know that as responsible cooperate citizens, all those who work in that industry are keenly aware of the impact of these unfortunate incidents when they do occur and must be willing to do everything possible to manage any disaster,” he said.