Bayelsa Times

Diri disagrees with NOSDRA probe as minister overrules DG

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16,800 barrels of oil recovered from polluted water

Bayelsa Governor Douye Diri has expressed dissatisfaction with comments credited to the Director General of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), Mr. Idris Musa, on the legality of the state’s technical committee on the recent oil spill in Nembe Local Government Area.

The NOSDRA DG reportedly said that the committee was illegal and prevented the media from being part of the Joint Investigation Visit to the spillage site. The leak lasted for about 38 days before it was eventually copped on December 8..

Governor Diri spoke during a courtesy visit of the Minister of State for Environment, Mrs. Sharon Ikeazor, who was accompanied by the NOSDRA DG, was in the state for an on-the-spot assessment of the blowout that occurred at OML 29 Wellhead platform operated by Aiteo Exploration and Production Company Limited in Nembe.

Diri, who described NOSDRA’s action as unacceptable, said his decision to set up the technical committee on the spill was influenced by the country’s Constitution and the laws of Bayelsa State, and that he owed the people of Nembe the responsibility of protecting every victim affected by the spill and would leave no stone unturned in ensuring justice and full compensation for the people.

His words: “Honourable Minister, I was not happy with the report I got from my team, particularly comments allegedly made by the DG of NOSDRA. I’m an elected governor of Bayelsa State and the number one thing about me is the wellbeing of the people, the environment and property of my state.

“I was told that the DG allegedly made comments that the committee I set up and inaugurated was an illegal committee. Also, he reportedly said that the media cannot be part of the JIV.  Those were the reports I received from my team,” he said.

“I am happy that you have cleared the issues about the media and that they would be part of it henceforth. Like I said earlier, states and the federal government are supposed to work hand in gloves.

“I have the powers vested by the Nigerian Constitution and the laws of Bayelsa State to set up the committee within the confines of Bayelsa State and on anything that is injurious to the people of the state.

“With the way it is going, I’m not happy with the report I’m getting from my committee. Aiteo could not have been the one to provide the logistics for the JIV. And the DG of NOSDRA should be the number one person to protect the state, its team and the environment,” he further said.

Earlier, the Minister had said her visit was to assess the damage caused by the spill and to ensure speedy remediation and it was proper for the media to be part of the JIV and that journalists would not be prevented from visiting the site.

The minister also stated that from reports made available to her, 16,800 barrels of oil had been recovered from the polluted water.

She thanked the people of Nembe Local Government Area for their peaceful disposition during and after the spill, and commended the state government for the exemplary leadership demonstrated to manage the situation.

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