By Ogenyi Ogenyi,Uyo
A Civil Society Organization working to promote fiscal and ecological justice in the Niger Delta,Policy Alert, has said that statements by Total Energies and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) on the recent mishap at the Egina – Floating, Production, Storage, and Offloading (FPSO) were aimed at downplaying the impact of the spill.
It would be recalled that on the morning of November 15, the TotalEnergies-operated FPSO off the coast of Nigeria reportedly spilled more than 100,000 gallons of oil in a loading accident.
In a statement signed by Edidiong Dickson, Programme Officer, Energy, Extractives and Climate Justice and made available to newsmen in Uyo yesterday, the organization said it was curious that the operator, Total Energies, and the regulator, NOSDRA, dwelt on the argument that the shore line was not impacted.
“This is a deliberate attempt to downplay the effects of the spill on an ecosystem facing pressure from several stressors.
“It shows how much corporate and regulatory actors in the oil and gas sector are willing to bend reality in the course of abdicating accountability and oversight.” The statement said.
It added that while the shores may not be impacted, the containment and clean up efforts has seen the introduction of chemicals into the sea aimed at breaking down the spilled oil.
Such actions, the organization maintained, “threatens the fragile marine ecosystem, imperils thousands of fisherfolk who depend on the ocean for their livelihoods, and exposes millions of others to nutrition insecurity and health hazards.”
The organization maintained that regulatory laxity has contributed to inaction about several spills that have caused environmental degradation on a grand scale over the years in the Niger Delta.
It therefore urged NOSDRA to step up to the plate in its regulatory functions to forestall similar occurrences in a region that has already been designated as a pollution hotspot.