06 July 2015, Abuja – The House of Representatives member representing Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta/Oru West Federal Constituency in Rivers State, Hon. Goodluck Nanah Opiah, has blamed Monday’s fire at two crude oil storage tanks owned by Agip Oil in Ogba Egbema Ndoni Local Government, on obsolete facilities.
The lawmaker, briefing newsmen in Abuja, said the level of damage caused by the inferno to the lives and properties of the people of his constituency is yet to be quantified. He however urged emergency agencies, particularly the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to urgently deploy aid to the area to assist the victims.
Opiah lamented that the oil company is more concerned with the disruption to the production of 20,000 barrels of crude oil per day, much more than the environmental hazards caused the community by the fire.
This development has brought to the fore the insensitive and unresponsive environmental attitude of oil producing companies operating in the Niger Delta region of the country, Opiah said.
He called on the Ministries of Petroleum Resources and Environment to take urgent steps to check the activities of oil companies to ensure they conform to global best practices. “Recall that the oil host communities are daily faced with the incessant gas flaring in the area which is an old method of oil exploitation with its environmental and health hazards.
This crude but cheap way of exploring oil/gas leaves that atmosphere permanently polluted and destroys wild life and ecosystem,” he said.
Opiah noted that he would have brought the matter to the attention of the House, but for the ongoing recess. He however noted that he would work with lawmakers of like minds to ensure that the crucial Petroleum Industry Bill is reviewed, so oil producing communities can be properly protected.