08 August 2015, Abuja – The House of Representatives has resolved to setup an ad-hoc committee to investigate the activities of the Joint Task Force, JTF, in the Niger Delta area regarding the burning and destruction of equipment seized from operators of illegal refineries.
The House also mandated the ad-hoc committee, when constituted, to investigate the activities of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) with a view to ensuring that it carries out improvement of its facilities to forestall any fire outbreak incident in the future and also determine the circumstance that led to the death of 14 people in Azuzuama community occasioned by the incident.
In a motion entitled: “Urgent Need to Bring an End to the Despoliation of the Niger Delta Environment Through the Burning of Equipment Confiscated From Illegal Operators of Refineries,” moved by Hon. Douye Diri, Hon. Leo Ogor and 12 others at plenary yesterday, the joint sponsors noted that the JTF was set up in 2004 to protect pipelines, prevent the operation of illegal refineries and generally maintain peace, law and order in the Niger Delta.
They said that the communities in the area suffer from effects of burning and destruction of oil equipment seized from operators of illegal oil refineries as the exercise was not done according to global best practices, adding that it has greatly polluted the environment.
The motion also noted that the fire outbreak in Azuzuama community in Bayelsa State on July 9, 2015, was as a result of the use of dilapidated infrastructure and equipment by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, an incident that led to the death of 14 persons.
The motion which was unanimously supported by the House also resolved that the ad-hoc committee would determine steps taken by the JTF in conjunction with other relevant agencies such as the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the National Oil Spill Detection Response Agency (NOSDRA) to forestall further degradation of the Niger Delta land.
*Edegbe Odemwingie and Bode Gbadebo – Vanguard