18 September 2014, Yenagoa – Bayelsa State Government has set up a rapid spills response team to tackle frequent oil and gas spillages in the state.
To start the rapid spills response initiative, the government has asked the Nigerian Agip Oil Company to temporarily shut down operations in its facility where spillage occured recently.
Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Iniruo Wills, said on Thursday that the government, after the spill on Agip facility had sent a team headed by the Director of Petroleum and Pollution Department to carry out the on-the-spot assessment of the situation.
He decried the frequent oil and gas spillage in the state, saying it portended grave consequences for the people and the communities.
Wills said, “We have asked Agip to temporarily shut operations in the facility where the spill occurred.
“Also, the management of Agip has been invited to a meeting with the ministry for a discussion on the incident and the series of similar spills with a view to improving environmental standards in Bayelsa.”
The commissioner said the ministry was determined to use the Ayamabele and Kalaba spills to signal the start of the state’s programme of rapid and sustained environmental protection and enforcement.
The development came just as a United Kingdom-based Environmental Monitoring group, Stakeholder Democracy Network unveiled a state-of-the-art mapping and tracking website tool to monitor and gather data on oil spills in the Niger Delta region.
The website tool, according to SDN is already being used daily by the Nigerian Government National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency environmental scientists officials in its six zonal offices of the country.
The SDN said it had replaced its previous database of oil spill data.
Executive Director, SDN, Mr. Joseph Hurst-Croft, described it as a digital mapping project that would provide NOSDRA with a state-of-the art web-based tool to manage its data on oil spills, making the data public and accessible across the world.
Croft said, “Citizens and communities can use the oil spill monitor for compensation claims and disputes, whilst government departments can get strategic insight based on accurate and verifiabe data.
– The Punch