Report discloses 4,835 oil spills in Niger Delta region from 1976 to 1996

Aug 03, 2001 02:00 AM

A member of the governing council of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Mr. Ray Ekpu, has disclosed that the Niger Delta region recorded a total number of 4,835 oil spills from 1976 to 1996. Ekpu who is also the CEO of Newswatch Magazine stated that available statistics showed that the incidents resulted in a loss of 2.4 mm barrels of crude oil in the region within the period.
Presenting a paper on environmental degradation, oil installation vandalisation, responsibilities of oil companies to the host communities and conflict resolution as human right issues in the Niger Delta, the renowned journalist noted that because of the debilitating health hazards occasioned by oil exploration activities, the developmental problems of the Niger Delta region have been compounded.

Ekpu who spoke in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, at a one day Human Rights Forum organised by NHRC observed that the activities of the various multinational oil companies operating in the area have resulted in undue pressure on available land mass.
The problems, according to him, include over farming, deforestation and erosion which have worsened the plight of the people in the Niger Delta region. He called for deliberate remediating measures, stressing that if urgent steps are not taken, the people would be exposed to imminent danger through a constant devastation of their source of livelihood.
In his remarks, the state deputy governor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan called for the abrogation of all offensive petroleum laws in the country. According to him, the laws have encouraged the oil companies to exploit the mineral wealth of the land, abuse the environment without recourse to internationally accepted standards.

Source: ThisDay
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