Port Harcourt — A renowned environmentalist and Executive Director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Dr Nnimmo Bassey, has berated the NNPC Ltd for destroying a vessel allegedly caught with 800,000 litres of stolen crude, describing it as economic waste and ecological assault.
Recall that the nation’s owned oil company NNPC Ltd announced recently the interception of an 800,000-litre vessel, MT Tura II, conveying stolen crude offshore while heading to Cameroon, and later set it ablaze, with claims that it was to serve as a deterrent to oil theft.
Reacting, the HOMEF boss said security agencies must be educated on climate crises and how destroying petroleum products was tantamount to ecological assault on the environment.
Bassey who holds a National Honour of Member of order of Federal Republic (MFR) for environmental activism, said the razing of the vessel by the government was a demonstration of wastefulness and a disregard to the already degraded environment.
Describing the continuous destruction of the environment as unacceptable, the HOMEF boss said the whole process of apprehending and destroying MT Tura II, looks like a stage-managed charade, as he demands for urgent investigation.
He said “The drama that unfolded with regard to the seized and bombed vessel is extremely disturbing. Destroying a vessel loaded with 800,000 barrels of crude oil should be taken as a new low in the demonstration of wastefulness on the part of those who should be watching over the nation’s resources.
“The entire episode requires urgent investigation. Why would anyone blow up a vessel and dump 800,000 barrels of oil into the environment? If that volume of crude is correct, this must be one of the largest volume of crude oil spilled in one incident.
“Our security men are often seen protecting pollution such as gas flares and rotten pipelines and stripping communities of their dignity. In this incident they have demonstrated utter disregard to our constitutional right to a safe environment.
“One drop of crude oil contaminates 25 litres of water. Imagine what 800,000 barrels of crude oil would do. It means destruction of fisheries and of livelihoods. It also means directly poisoning our people. It is shocking and unacceptable.
“The entire thing seems to have been staged for some unknown purposes. How can security agents bomb a crude oil loaded vessel with Nigerians in other boats watching and filming as if they were being entertained.
“Oil theft is a crime. Blowing up a vessel loaded with crude oil is a higher order of malfeasance. The security forces need some trainings on environmental and climate crises. What has played out is sickening on many levels, economic waste, ecological assault.
“Security cannot be a valid reason for blowing up the vessel. We need to know why this was done, and urgently too,” the renowned environmental justice campaigner said.
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