Apparently not satisfied with the way an indigenous oil and gas exploration/production company, Aiteo Group and Federal Government relevant agencies have handled the issues around the recent oil spillage in Nembe Community, Bayelsa state government has concluded plans to seek redress in the law court.
This much was disclosed by Bayelsa state Governor, Douye Diri, in the Government House Yenagoa on Thursday as part of his anniversary in office.
According to Governor Diri, Bayelsa State has concluded plans to approach the court because, Aiteo Group, federal government agencies, local and state governments as well as communities are in disagreement on why the spill occurred.
He also said that he believes the court will compell Aiteo Group and federal government agencies, like National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), and Federal Ministry of Environment to pay compensation to people of Nembe Community and others affected by the spillage.
“While AITEO is
alleging that the spillage was caused by human tempering, the community said nobody went close to the dormant well-head hence they will not be held responsible for the spillage”, the governor has said.
However, Governor Diri has blamed the skewed Nigerian Constitution for the problems of the Niger Delta region, pointing out that except there is a total restructuring of the country, the oil bearing communities will continue to suffer huge environmental degradation without compensation.
Hear him: “The present Nigerian Constitution is the reason for the underdevelopment of the Niger Delta region. This is because, the Constitution said the Federal Government owns what is under the ground in the land that belongs to me. So, that law, which gave the Federal Government right to exploit the mineral resources which is under the ground in my land is wrong”.
“I have always maintained that Nigeria is running a Unitary government and not Federal government”.
He stated that the argument of some people that the money used to develop oil in the Niger Delta region came from the proceeds of cocoa and groundnuts is not true, saying that: “the International Oil Companies (IOCs) have always brought their money from overseas to develop oil exploration in Nigeria, not money from cocoa and groundnut as some people claimed”
On Gas Flaring, Governor Diri said only the communities affected by the gas flaring should collect Royalties, arguing that the present practice where the federal government is collecting Royalties from oil companies for gas flaring should be stopped”.
It took 32 days for Aiteo Group, operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation/Aiteo Joint Venture, JV, to stop the Nembe oil spill, located on Oil Mining Lease, OML 29 in Bayelsa state in November 2021.
Aiteo had insisted that the incident occurred on November 5, 2021 at Santa Barbara South oil well, while the community argued that it took place on November 1, 2021.