Reps Committee talks tough over oil spills

Mkpoikana Udoma

Port Harcourt — Oil impacted communities must be compensated and remediated to ameliorate the long term effects of spills on local inhabitants, including the unborn and to guarantee livelihoods for the people, House of Reps Committee has said.

To this end, Reps Committee on Host Communities, has charged oil companies and regulatory agencies to ensure that environmental justice is served to host communities, that have suffered oil spills in the country.

Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Dumnamene Dekor, said the Committee will not spare any effort to ensure environmental justice and restoration of livelihoods for communities that have suffered oil spills.

Dekor, who himself is from an impacted community in Ogoniland, Rivers State, assured that the Committee would ensure that communities with other forms of negative environmental impact from petroleum exploration and production activities, get justice.

He disclosed that the House has mandated the Committee to ensure the welfare and protection of rights of oil mineral producing communities, hence, has activated measures to intervene on the issue of oil spills to ensure that justice is done.

“The Committee expressed dismay at the grave distortions and desecration of the environment as well as the grievous discomfort, dislocation and despair the spills have affected in the lives and living conditions of citizens and residents of the affected communities.

“In this regard, the Committee is not only concerned about the urgent imperative for adequate compensation and environmental remediation but importantly about ameliorating the longer term effects of the spills on local inhabitants, including the unborn while guaranteeing livelihoods for those affected at the instant moment.

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“The Committee is deeply concerned about reports of denials and counter-denials by companies, communities and regulatory agencies of government and the consequent import of lack of accountability and transparency in the management of oil spills, which invariably leave communities short-changed if not completely denied of compensation, remediation and assurance of continued economic livelihoods.

“The Committee, however, appeals to affected communities to keep calm and identify with all legal and meaningful interventions by relevant stakeholders to address the clearly unacceptable situation occasioned by the spills; and that it will certainly do all within its powers to cause positive and sustainable change in the narrative.”

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