01 April 2014, Abuja – The House of Representatives Committee on Environment has set up an ad hoc committee to fashion out ways and means to determine how much the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, should pay as compensation for an oil spill that occurred in Ndokwa East Local Government of Delta State in October, 2012.
The affected communities, during an interactive session with the committee, also demanded N1billion compensation.
The committee is made up of three members from the House Committee on Environment, one from the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, two from the 11 communities that filed a claim of N1 billion, one from Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, and two from Agip.
Although 11 of the affected communities are claiming N1 billion as damages, the oil company said it had compensated majority of the communities affected by the spill.
The committee, during the investigative session on Friday, expressed its disappointment with the oil company for foot-dragging and employing legal tricks to deny the affected communities of compensation.
Chairman of the Committee, Uche Ekwunife, APGA, Anambra State, said Agip was deliberately hampering the investigation.
She explained that “this is a deliberate attempt and this is what Agip has been doing for the past one year; you destroy their land and communities and frustrate them from getting justice.”
She lambasted the DPR for its indifference, alleging collusion with the International Oil Companies, IOCs.
“That is what we’re saying, that DPR should not be part of government, this responsibility must be put in private hands.”
The Department of Petroleum Resources , DPR, represented by Dorothy Bassey, Head, Health Safety and Environment, had said it was not aware of the petition from the affected communities and only got to know of it through the summons of the committee.
The department recommended that details of petitions from oil and gas host communities should be forwarded to the DPR to enable prompt and thorough investigation.
According to the submission of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, the spill which occurred due to the rupture of the NAOC’s Kwale/ Akiri 10″ pipeline, affected 25 communities,
Idris Musa, Director Oil Field Assessment, while making NOSDRA’s presentation before the committee, said over 589 barrels of crude oil were spilled and 180 recovered.
He agreed with the committee chairman’s observation that the oil company used legal tricks to delay compensation, adding that even when oil companies were willing to compensate communities adequately, their legal departments always kicked against it.
Victor Enoyinje, who represented the 11 communities that brought the petition before the House, said the communities rejected N500,000 each from AGIP.
He alleged that the pipeline that burst was 40 years old and had lost its integrity, adding that NAOC did not consult with the communities before offering them the N500,000 compensation.