Port Harcourt — The people of Brass in Bayelsa State have demanded for urgent remediation on the environmental and economic damages done by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC at the Brass Crude Export Terminal, to the Brass Canal in the last 48 years.
The community said that environmental and legal experts, since 2015, have ascertained that Agip discharges about 150,000 barrels of toxic waste consisting of untreated produce water and sludge daily, into the Brass Canal.
A letter by the community to the Managing Director of NAOC by a law firm, Ntephe, Smith and Wills, stated that the volume of toxic discharge to the Brass Canal amounts to 54.8million barrels annually and approximately 2.6 billion barrels for the past 48 years, cumulatively.
The community said it was also ascertained that contaminant rate in the Brass Canal ranged from 200 percent to 1000 percent above regulatory limits as well as soil, ground water and air quality pollution are also adversely affecting public health.
Principal Partners at Ntephe, Smith and Wills, Iniruo Wills and Dr Dickson Omukoro, who signed the letter for the community, said the remediation of the Brass Canal is overdue and being delayed by the Italian oil firm.
Wills Omukoro in the letter explained that despite a subsisting regulatory directive to conduct a Comprehensive Impact Assessment to determine the effect of the facility and proffer remedy and compensation, the oil firm was foot dragging.
They added that the oil firm has also delayed the implementation of a joint inter-agency site visit to resolve the issue and commence remediation of the impacted areas.
“In furtherance of the human security, economic and environmental interests of your hosts, Brass Kingdom, touching also on Nigeria’s national interests and Bayelsa state’s strategic interest, we remind you to overdue obligation on the Brass Canal viz.
“Proper remediation of ecological damage caused by continous discharge of toxic wastes at your Brass Terminal everyday for the past 48 years/
“Adequate compensation based on impartial impact assesment, a restoration and pollution prevention plan as per best practices.
“We put you on notice to stop desperate attempts by your officers to compromise or induce key interests, aimed at evading regulatory compliance, frustrating the Ministerial directive for an independent Comprehenhive Impact Assesment as a basis for adequate remediation and compensation,” the letter reads in part.
The community warned NAOC to refrain from efforts to waive its environmental obligations to the people of Brass Kingdom by inserting, what they described as ‘obnoxius clauses’ into the draft Memorandum of Understanding with the people.
They further urged Agip to cooperate with the inter-agency regulatory team in the conduct of a credible assessment with equal representation by both parties, in the interest of justice and amicable resolution.