The Nigerian Government says it plans to institute stiffer punishments for companies involved in oil spillage in the country.
Minister of Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, gave the hint on Thursday at the weekly ministerial briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
This is coming three weeks after a pipeline explosion in Nembe, Bayelsa State, which led to oil spillage across 45 communities in the state.
According to her, the ministry is engaging other relevant government agencies to arrive at the stiffer sanctions applicable.
Ikeazor explained that a bill is being worked out to amend the law establishing the National Oil Spillage Detection and Response Agency NOSDRA to build its capacity and give it “the needed teeth to bite.”
She said the operating company of the OML29 in Nembe, Bayelsa state has blamed the recent oil spillage in the country on sabotage by the locals.
However, she announced that the Santa Barbara spillage has been brought under control weeks after the incident occurred with necessary personnel and equipment deployed to begin recovery and remediation efforts.
Ikeazor also lamented the high rate of deaths from smoke especially among women in the country, which she noted is the highest in the world.
She said something must be done about the ongoing gas flaring, noting that the country cannot be committed to zero net emission and still be flaring gas.